The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America

Abstract – The fibrogenic properties of asbestos dust were detected early, later knowledge accumulated about the carcinogenic properties of the mineral and a hazard of bronchial carcinoma and mesothelial tumours was recognized.

Mortality studies have measured the effect of exposure on working populations. Recent analysis of data from a cohort of asbestos factory workers show that even with low to moderate exposure there is excess mortality from cancer of the lungs and pleura and other cancers, after more than 25 years’ observation. The mesothelioma rate increases both with severity and length of exposure. Occurrence of thes eand other tumours appear to be dose related. The markers of the community effect of asbestos dust in the environment are the occurrence of mesothelial tumours in neighbourhoods of a source of asbestos dust, and the presence of asbestos bodies or calcified asbestos pleural plaques in the general population. Conditions giving rise to neighbourhood mesothelial tumours may not now occur, but the importance of adequate control in all countries where asbestos is mined or manufactured is stressed.

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