Scientists have found that even low levels of asbestos exposure can result in mesothelioma and other forms of cancers.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
In the present study, scientists used Netherlands Cohort Study on about 60,000 Norwegian men in the age range of 55-69 years. They compared the job history of the participants with the asbestos-exposure and compared the likely levels of asbestos exposure that may result in mesothelioma.
Scientists found that the asbestos levels in the working environment can result in mesothelioma and other cancers such as lung cancer, and laryngeal cancer even in low levels. They found 132 cases of mesothelioma, 2,324 cases of lung cancer, and 166 cases of laryngeal cancer, after about 1.7 decades of follow-up. Of the three types, only two subtypes; lung adenocarcinoma (a form of non-small cell lung cancer) and glottis cancer (a subtype of laryngeal cancer affecting the vocal chords) were found to be related to higher levels of prolonged exposure to asbestos. For all the other forms, even low levels can cause cancer.
“Asbestos levels encountered at the lower end of the exposure distribution may be associated with an increased risk of pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, and laryngeal cancer,” the researchers concluded.
Offermans NS et al. (2013). Occupational Asbestos Exposure and Risk of Pleural Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, and Laryngeal Cancer in the Prospective Netherlands Cohort Study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000060