All types of asbestos related to high incidence of mesothelioma in Australia

American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2002 Mar; 41(3):188-201

Rebutting the misrepresentation that chrysotile asbestos does not cause mesothelioma, a 2002 article published by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine in Sydney, Australia reviewed mesothelioma in that country between 1945-2000.

The review, based on a national malignant mesothelioma case registry begun in 1980, noted a marked increase in the incidence of mesothelioma in the last twenty years. The article concluded that Australia’s high incidence of mesothelioma is related to high past asbestos use of all fiber types across a wide spectrum of occupational and environmental settings. This conclusion directly rebuts the claim of defense lawyers and asbestos manufacturers that mesothelioma is caused by some fiber types and not by others.

The article chronicled the scope of the asbestos epidemic in Australia, and predicted that the number of cases is expected to reach 18,000 by 2020, with about 11,000 yet to appear. Currently 450-600 cases are notified annually in a population of 20 million. The review used registry data to calculate time trends in mesothelioma incidence. The article analyzes incidence by age, sex, anatomical site, and state of notification, and describes the association of occupational and environmental asbestos exposure histories. Australia has the highest number of reported mesothelioma cases in the world.

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