A new study has revealed that the sharp increase in asbestos use in Asia would witness a surge of mortality and morbidity from asbestos related diseases in the next 20 years.
The research team had put together data on asbestos use in 47 Asian countries that showed that Cyprus, Israel and Japan had the highest age-adjusted mortality rates in Asia.
Asian countries accounted for 64 per cent of the global consumption of asbestos in the period of 2001-2007, which is a striking increase from 14 per cent between 1920 and 1970.
"Despite concerns of the global ARD epidemic and Asia's growing importance in the world, data on current asbestos use and asbestos related diseases in Asia remain limited," said Dr. Ken Takahashi, Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Occupational Health.
The WHO has identified asbestos as one of the most dangerous occupational carcinogens and an estimated 107,000 people worldwide have died from asbestos related diseases.
Asbestos related lung diseases, particularly mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis (asbestos induced lung fibrosis), typically develop after decades of lag time from first exposure.
Up to 2007, Asian patients accounted for 13 per cent of the cumulative global mortality from asbestos-related pleura-pulmonary diseases.
The study was published in Respirology, a journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology.