Prior to its UK ban in 1999, asbestos was commonly used in building and construction for its insulating and fire-retardant properties. However, medical researchers have long suspected a link between inhalation of asbestos fibres and the development of various cancers.
AggressiveOf these conditions mesothelioma, which attacks the pleura (lining) of the lungs, is a notoriously aggressive example.
18-year Study Among the Largest of its KindConcentrating on exposure to asbestos, the new study involved almost 58,300 male subjects between 55 and 69 years of age. Monitored over a period of nearly 18 years, cases were recorded of laryngeal and lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma in excess of 2,600.
The study asserted that asbestos, even when identified at lower exposure levels, could be related to a higher risk of these cancers.
Major Health ImplicationsResearcher Neil Maune said the study was "ground-breaking", confirming that "exposure in even the smallest amounts can have major health implications years later.
"We work with clients that range from those directly exposed to asbestos on job sites to secondary exposure incidents where a person never even thought they were at any risk."