UK Carpenters Born in ‘40s Face Death from Mesothelioma

by Gopalan on  March 4, 2009 at 10:23 PM Respiratory Disease News   - G J E 4
 UK Carpenters Born in ‘40s Face Death from Mesothelioma
UK carpenters born in the 1940's could face death from mesothelioma, lung cancer caused by asbestos.

Plumbers, electricians, decorators and construction workers too could be running similar risk. But carpenters seem to be particularly vulnerable, according to a new study.

When the death risk is one in 17 carpenters, it is one in 50 plumbers, electricians and decorators while one in 125 in the case of other construction workers.

The study appears in the British Journal of Cancer.

The researchers calculated the lifetime risk of the disease among workers exposed to asbestos for more than a decade before the age of 30Their findings were based on interviews with more than 600 patients with mesothelioma and 1,400 healthy people.
Over all, the projected lifetime risk of fatal meothelioma in all British men born in the 1940s was about one in 170. It was the time when asbestos was freely used in construction, and hence the concern.

The authors also found that around two-thirds of all British men and a quarter of women had worked in jobs involving potential asbestos exposure at some time in their lives.

Lead researcher Professor Julian Peto, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Institute of Cancer Research, said: "The UK has the highest death rate from mesothelioma in the world.

"The risk is highest in people who were exposed to asbestos before age 30.

"By getting information on all the jobs people had ever done we have shown that the risk in some occupations, particularly in the building industry, is higher than we previously thought.

"New regulations introduced in 1970 reduced exposure to asbestos in factories but heavy exposure to the much larger workforce in construction and various other industries continued."

Only a couple of days ago Australian researchers had warned of a similar risk to home renovators.

Steve Coldrick, of the Health and Safety Executive's disease reduction programme, said: "We must continue to remember that asbestos maintained in good condition onsite is not a threat unless it's disturbed and the fibres become airborne.

"Also, other potential 'risk factors' such as residence in certain types of housing, living near industrial sites, or engagement in DIY activity, were not associated with an increased risk."

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's director of information, told BBC: "We now need to ensure that accurate information for workers and regulation of the asbestos still in buildings keeps pace with what we've learned."

Source: Medindia

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