This study evaluated the effects of environmental low-dose exposure to crocidolite on people’s health and the society.
The mortality data of cancer between 1994 and 2003 in an environmental crocidolite-contaminated area was obtained from hospital medical records of Dayao Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and Dayao Public Health Bureau. The years of life lost with premature death (YLLs), was used to measure and assess the death, health losses and social burden of cancer in this area. RESULTS: In the environmental crocidolite-contaminated area, lung cancer was the prime cause of death in all kinds of cancers between 1994 and 2003, followed by liver cancer, mesothelioma stomach cancer and colorectal cancer, with mortality 10.15/10(5), 9.04/10(5), 8.48/10(5), 3.96/10(5) and 3.55/10(5) respectively. The mortality of main cancer in male and female increased with age growing except that of breast cancer in female. Results showed that the types of leading cancers of YLLs were liver cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma, leukemia and stomach cancer with YLLs 1981.39 person-year, 1886.63 person-year, 1799.23 person-year, 948.01 person-year and 754.18 person-year respectively. The distribution of YLLs was similar in both sexes, higher in the middle age group (aged from 15 to 44 years and 45 to 59 years) and lower in other age groups. The indirect economic loss resulting from lung cancer (15.02% of the total loss), liver cancer (13.98% of the total loss) and mesothelioma (13.01% of the total loss) was relatively great. The YLLs and the indirect economic loss attributable to environmental low-dose exposure to crocidolite were 3092.23 person-year and 5,175,800 Yuan respectively.
Lung cancer, liver cancer, mesothelioma, leukemia and breast cancer are the major cancers with an important impact on people’s health and premature mortality in the environmental crocidolite-contaminated area. The impact of cancer mortality is more severer in those aged over 45 years. Social burden of cancer is the greatest in persons aged from 15 to 59 years. Policies and plans should be worked out for the protection of environment and the prevention of cancer.