Louisiana Asbestos Cement Workers and Mortality Rates

Louisiana Asbestos Cement Workers and Mortality Rates

One interesting study is called, “Histologic type of lung cancer and asbestos exposure” by Oscar Auerbach MD, Lawrence Garfinkel MA, Verta R. Parks BS, Alfred S. Conston MD, Vincent A. Galdi MD, Lou Jouberti,- Cancer Volume 54, Issue 12, pages 3017–3021, 15 December 1984.  Here is an excerpt: “Abstract – The histologic types of lung cancer in 855 patients (747 men and 107 women) from three hospitals and one international study of insulation workers were evaluated. Of these, 196 cases had asbestos exposure. About one half of the cases were diagnosed from surgical slides and one half from autopsy slides. Squamous cell carcinoma constituted the largest percentage of tumor types and was found with the same frequency in exposed and nonexposed groups. Small cell carcinoma was found in 25% of the exposed and in 15% of the nonexposed patients. Upper lung sites were involved in about two thirds of the cases with asbestos exposure and lower lobes in the other one third. There was little difference in histologic type in cases regardless of whether upper or lower lobes were involved. Cigarette smokers who smoked until their cancer diagnosis showed no difference in histologic type by amount smoked, and slight but not statistically significant differences from ex-cigarette smokers.”

Another interesting study is called, “Asbestos and Gastrointestinal Cancer – A Review of the Literature” by Robert W. Morgan, MD, Donna E. Foliart, MD, MPH, and Otto Wong, ScD – West J Med. 1985 July; 143(1): 60–65.   Here is an excerpt: “Abstract – Exposure to asbestos is among several factors cited as possible causes of esophageal, gastric and colorectal cancer. More than 45 published studies have presented mortality data on asbestos-exposed workers. For each cohort, we listed the observed and expected rates of deaths from types of gastrointestinal cancer based on the latest published follow-up. Summary standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were then derived. Finally, we calculated summary SMRs for total gastrointestinal tract cancer for three occupational groups: asbestos factory workers, insulators/shipyard workers and asbestos miners.Statistically significant elevations in summary SMRs were found for esophageal, stomach and total gastrointestinal tract cancer in all asbestos-exposed workers. Esophageal cancer summary SMRs remained significantly elevated when data were reanalyzed to include only those cohorts with death certificate diagnoses for cause of observed deaths. However, summary SMRs were not statistically significant for stomach and total gastrointestinal tract cancer after reanalysis. Summary SMRs by occupational group showed a significant elevation for total gastrointestinal cancer in insulators/shipyard workers. The elevation was not significant after reanalysis.Based on the results after reanalysis, the elevations in summary SMRs for stomach and total gastrointestinal tract cancer are of a magnitude that could result from diagnostic and investigator error. We conclude that more studies are required before stomach and colorectal cancers are documented as asbestos-related diseases.”

Another interesting study is called, “Lung cancer risk associated with manufacture of asbestos-cement products.” By Hughes J, Weill H. – IARC Sci Publ. 1980;(30):627-35.  Here is an excerpt: “Abstract – The mortality experience of a cohort of 5645 Louisiana asbestos-cement workers with a minimum follow-up of 20 years was related to total dust, duration and concentration of exposure and fibre type. Excess respiratory cancer risk was detected in workers with moderate and heavy asbestos dust exposure, but no excess risk occurred in categories of lower exposure. Mortality due to all other causes was normal. Both duration and level of exposure were shown to contribute to risk; both variables exhibited levels at which no excess mortality was detected. Workers exposed to both chrysotile and crocidolite appeared to be at greater risk of respiratory malignancy than those with exposure to chrysotile only.”

If you found any of these excerpts interesting, please read the studies in their entirety.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to these researchers for their hard work.

 

Monty Wrobleski is the author of this article, for more information please click on the following links

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