Asbestos Related Diseases

Health problems surfaced as early as 1900, but since the latency stage of lung disease related to asbestos is usually 20 years or more, the magnitude of the problem did not appear until recently, despite studies worldwide.

The health effects may not be fully known for a number of years. Hundreds of thousands of workers and their families have been exposed to harmful levels of contamination.
Asbestos fibres are harmful because they are extremely small and sharp. Ordinary sized dust is caught and expelled by the body's defences before it can be breathed in to the lungs or swallowed into the stomach, but asbestos slips through .

That's why it's the lungs and chest that suffer most, and sometimes the stomach. Once inside, they begin to damage the tissues. There is no known safe level of exposure to any type of asbestos.
However, not everyone exposed will become ill.
All we know is that the more asbestos
someone is exposed to the more likely it is they will become ill
and that the only safe exposure is zero exposure.
Asbestos cancers generally take from 20 to 40 years to develop (the 'latency period')
Although shorter and longer periods have been recorded.
Pleural thickening can happen more quickly.

Additionally, asbestos exposure has been proven to cause all forms of mesothelioma cancer (including the most common pleural mesotheioma) lung cancer and laryngeal cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, exposure to asbestos also increases a person's risk of developing throat, oesophageal, kidney and gallbladder cancer. Asbestos exposure has also been linked to gastrointestinal cancer and colorectal cancer
Diseases related to asbestos can be sorted into different classes. There are malignant (or cancerous) ones such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Then you have the benign or non cancerous ones such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural fibrosis and benign pleural effusions

The tragedy of mesothelioma is that it takes decades before most symptoms appear, and by the time the cancer is discovered it is too entrenched in the system to treat.
Mesothelioma occurs from exposure to asbestos.
It grows on the lining of the lungs, (pleura), abdomen (peritoneum) the lining of the pericardium
( the sac that surrounds the heart)
and the tunica vaginalis ( scrotal sac)

There are three main types of mesothelioma, and each affects a different area of the body. These categories are epithelioid, sarcomatoid cells, and a mix of the two types called biphasic mesothelioma.
Epithelial mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that affects the membrane lining the chest cavity, heart, lungs and abdominal cavity. There are three forms of epithelial mesothelioma.
The most common being pleural mesothelioma, then peritoneal mesothelioma and the third being pericardial mesothelioma. Sarcomatoid is much more serious, and it affects the secondary tissues such as bone, muscles, cartilage, and or fat. This form is much rarer.
Mixed/ biphasic refers to both types of cancers at once.
Mesothelioma is a terrible and deadly disease of the 21st century. Because it takes decades before the first symptoms appear, many health professionals believe that there will be a mesothelioma epidemic in the decades to come.
Mesothelioma Cancer Cell Types

To understand mesothelioma is to understand cancer. Cancer is essentially the uncontrolled growth of cells. Under normal circumstances, body cells in the hair, bone, organs or blood grow to a certain point, die off, and are replaced by newer, healthier cells.

Unfortunately, most cancer cells are damaged to some degree ,and as the body reproduces them they begin to take over from healthy cells, leading to eventual system failure .
Mesothelioma cells are divided into three main categories:
Epithelioid, Sarcomatoid cells, and a mix of the two types called Biphasic mesothelioma.

Cancers like mesothelioma can affect just about any type of cell in the body, often radically affecting the prognosis and treatment options for patients. The sad thing about mesothelioma is that it takes decades before most symptoms appear, and by the time the cancer is discovered it is usually to far advanced to to treat.
The most common and relatively treatable form of the cancer is Epithelioid mesothelioma.
Under a microscope this type of the disease is seen as a papillary or tubular growth and generally affects membranes and tissues that cover organs and other internal bodily surfaces.
Between 50 - 70% of mesothelioma cases fall into this category, and this type is most likely to respond to treatment
Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Is the most serious form of the disease, as it rarely responds to any treatment whatsoever. Fortunately it is also the rarest, as it only strikes 10-20% of patients with mesothelioma.
It appears as spindle-shaped pattern of cells that overlap one another, and generally arises from support tissues such as bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat. Death usually occurs within six months of diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
Biphasic mesothelioma

is not a condition on its own, but rather a combination of the other two types. It can take on both the good and bad aspects of sarcomatoid and epithelioid mesotheliomas and 20-35% of all mesothelioma cases are mixed or biphasic.
Because it takes decades before the first symptoms appear, many health professionals believe that there will be a mesothelioma epidemic in the decades to come.
Pleural Mesothelioma

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma occur as a result of the thickening of the pleural membrane. This is caused by the rapid production of cancerous cells, which can then lead to the build up of fluid between membrane layers. Tissue thickening and fluid build up, place added pressure on the lungs leading to reduced respiratory function..

Persistent dry or raspy cough (usually with little or no phlegm)
Coughing up blood (haemoptysis)
Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
Night sweats or fever
Unexplained weight loss
Persistant pain in the chest or rib area
Or painful breathing
Shortness of breath (dyspnea that occurs even when resting)
The appearance of lumps under the skin on the chest.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are caused by the thickening of the peritoneal membrane and the resulting build up of fluid between the layers of membranes in the abdomen.

Night sweats or fever
Unexplained weight loss
Swelling or pain in the abdomen
Anaemia Fatigue
Diarrhea or constipation (or any change in bowel habits or regularity)
Nausea or vomiting
The appearance of lumps under the skin on the abdomen.
Pericardial Mesothelioma

Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma are caused by the build up of fluid and the thickening of the pericardial layers.

Heart palpitations or irregular heart beats.(arrhythmia)
Chest pain,
Persistant cough
Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
(dyspnea which occurs when lying down)
Fever or night sweats

Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the pericardium,
a membrane that surrounds the heart
and provides protection and support to this organ.
The membrane is composed of two different layers:
an outer layer and an inner layer known as the visceral layer
called the epicardium.
The parietal layer is part of a larger membrane
that lines the entire chest cavity,
while the visceral layer is the peri- cardial membrane
that lines the heart.

Pericardial mesothelioma accounts for approximately half
of all pericardial tumours and is extremely rare.
Pericardial mesothelioma accounts for
approximately 1 to 6 percent of all mesotheliomas.

To date, fewer than 150 cases have been
presented in medical literature

and approximately 200 cases have been reported world wide.
Pericardial tumours are typically
diffuse (not localized) and tend to cover most of the heart.

Testicular Mesothelioma,

is the rarest of all mesothelioma cancers,
as less than one hundred cases have been recorded.
This type of mesothelioma develops
in the lining that surrounds the testicles,
Due to the extreme rarity of testicular mesothelioma,
very little has been noted about
its symptoms and the treatment options available
Often, the disease is not diagnosed until patients notice the appearance of testicular lumps.

In some cases, surgery for an unrelated condition
such as a hernia leads to the detection of testicular mesothelioma.
This disease is an exceedingly rare disease, which renders its origin, pathogenesis, diagnosis and therapy challenging.
Pleural Plaques

Unlike pleural thickening, pleural plaques rarely form for reasons other than asbestos exposure. As a result, when they appear on a radiograph or CT scan, doctors immediately suspect damage due to asbestos.
Approximately fifty percent of people who are exposed to asbestos over prolonged periods of time develop pleural plaque.

All asbestos-related ailments occur because, unlike other airborne particles, asbestos fibres are small enough to undermine the lungs natural filtration system and embed themselves in bodily tissues, where they cause inflammation and scarring.

Asbestosis is a non-cancerous scarring of the delicate tissues of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure. Although it is not cancerous, asbestos exposure may also cause lung cancer or mesothelioma, and asbestosis is an indicator that you are at a higher risk of contracting these asbestos related diseases.

Asbestosis is a form of pneumoconiosis, a general term for a type of damage done to the interior of the lung by inhaled dust. The lung consists of millions of minute pockets called alveoli where oxygen and carbon dioxide are transferred to and from the blood. Microscopic dust that reaches the alveoli can damage the alveoli walls, causing scar tissue which then puts pressure on the neighbouring alveoli which break and scar, and so on.

Over time, this reduces the lung's ability to get oxygen into the blood and the result is shortness of breath, which can be extreme. To compensate for this the heart works harder and in the worst cases death comes because of heart failure. Mild asbestosis may not cause any noticeable symptoms but once scarring has taken hold the disease will get worse.
I have lung cancer but I smoked; does my asbestos exposure matter?
Yes. Physicians who are knowledgeable about asbestos related diseases will tell you that asbestos exposure and cigarette smoking are a lethal combination. Alone, either cigarette smoking or asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer. For a person who has been exposed to asbestos and smoked, the risk is greatly magnified.

Hammond EC, Selikoff IJ,
Seidman H.
Asbestos exposure, cigarette smoking and death rates.
Ann NY Acad Sci 1979; 330:473-491

Group; Smoking Mortality Ratio
Control                                       No                            1.0
Asbestos Workers                    No                            5.2
Control                                     Yes                           10.9
Asbestos Workers                  Yes                           53.9

Lung and Other Cancers

It is officially recognised that asbestos exposure can cause lung and other cancers. This is known because epidemiological studies of asbestos worker deaths show a high lung cancer rate. This is made even more difficult if the sufferer was a smoker at any time in their life as the interaction between smoking and asbestos exposure greatly increases the risk of cancer.

There is evidence that exposure to asbestos causes cancer of the larynx. It may also cause cancers at other sites in the body, e.g. the gut, colon, rectum and in the ovaries Much of the evidence is in studies that are very small compared to those that established the cancer and mesothelioma risks for asbestos. So evidence of asbestos exposure is crucial in any attempt to link cancers other than mesothelioma to asbestos
Symptoms of lung cancer

 A cough that does not go away
Repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
Shortness of breath
Noisy breathing
Pain in the chest and upper back area
Coughing up blood.

In the later stages of lung cancer,
people may experience fatigue,
loss of weight,
extreme shortness of breath,
hoarseness, difficulty in swallowing,
facial swelling and back pain.
There may also be symptoms that
seem unrelated to the lungs.
These may be caused by the spread of
a lung cancer to other parts of the body.

Some people have no symptoms,
but learn they have lung cancer when it
shows up as a mass or lump on a routine chest x-ray.
Others realise something is wrong
when new symptoms appear or a bout
of bronchitis fails to get better quickly.

According to new figures
released by the Cancer Research UK (CRUK),
the rate of lung cancer in woman over sixty
has risen from 88 per 100,000 in 1975
to 190 per 100,000 in 2008,
the latest year in which these
statistics are available.
Lung cancer in men,
for the same period, fell.

The overall number of women diagnosed
with lung cancer has risen from around 7,800 cases
in 1975 to more than 17,500 in 2008.
Statistics for men dropped from 23,400 over
60s diagnosed in 1975 to just 19,400 in 2008.
While lung cancer diagnosis in women
in the same over sixty category
was only 5,700 in 1975 compared to 15,100 in 2008.

In the late 1980s,
lung cancer diagnoses in women
in their sixties levelled out,
and even started to fall,
but they began to rise again in 2002.
One possible cause of lung cancer
is environmental toxins, such as asbestos.
Difficult to Diagnose Mesothelioma Cancer in Women

If they were exposed to asbestos either directly
or by way of loved ones they should inform their physician,
particularly if they are experiencing any abnormal symptoms.

Mesothelioma cancer is such a rare disease that not all doctors are able to diagnose it.
To make matters worse, physicians often miss it as a diagnosis in female patients because the disease is especially rare in women.

I wander if it would be so rare in woman if it was diagnosed correctly in the beginning. I feel that a lot of physicians don't even bother to ask.
Or; just do not want to know, if a woman goes to them with what could be an asbestos related diseases,
 " Were you ever exposed to asbestos "?

should always be asked for both men and women displaying any of the symptoms shown in the above information. Especially if they smoked.
They just don't think of all the exposures to asbestos a woman may have had in the past.
It is now, that these diseases will be showing up in great numbers

Though most women have been exposed to asbestos in a secondary manner, countless women have experienced occupational exposure to asbestos. Before World War II, occupational exposure among women was practically unheard of, but as thousands of men left their jobs to fight in the war, thousands of women took their place in the workforce.

Leaving the home to build planes, tanks, and ships, assemble ammunition, and fill positions in numerous factories and power plants across the nation, women were suddenly thrown into occupational settings where asbestos exposure was likely to occur. And just as the men who filled these positions before them, women were not provided safety gear to protect them from exposure to asbestos and other toxic chemicals.

Despite the pre-established dangers of asbestos, both women and men were exposed to this hazardous mineral throughout the World War II era (now historically considered one of the highest production eras for asbestos products)
Workplace Exposure

Given that asbestos was once added into thousands of domestic and industrial products, a number of industries and workplaces have been associated with asbestos exposure.
One workplace where exposure to asbestos commonly occurred was laundry facilities, which predominately employed women.

Since asbestos is an efficient insulator, it was regularly used in commercial dryers and other appliances that involved the use of heat.

These primary and secondary types of exposure to asbestos cancer have resulted in thousands of women at risk of contracting mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
Women's Secondary Exposure
Although the ratio of men to women with mesothelioma is about three to one, the numbers of cases of mesothelioma among women is rising. Second hand exposure to asbestos is more common among women than the direct exposure that so many male workers have suffered.
In many documented cases of mesothelioma among women, the asbestos exposure was from the microscopic fibres of asbestos that were brought home on the work clothes of men who worked in an asbestos-related industry :
            • Asbestos mines
                                             • Asbestos product manufacturers
 • Shipyards
 • Steel mills
• Rail yards
 • Refineries
      • Power plants
The Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Asbestos Exposure

Since the 1970s scientific studies have been evaluating the link between asbestos exposure and ovarian cancer. Some of these studies have involved the use of talcum powder on the genital area.
Talc has a long history of asbestos contamination since the minerals can naturally occur together and develop under similar conditions. For example, a study published in 1982 reported that women with ovarian cancer were three times more likely to have used talcum powder (also widely known as baby powder) on the genital area.
A 1999 study involving more than 1,000 women found the participants who used talc powder on the genitals had a sixty percent overall increased relative risk of developing ovarian cancer.

More recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed that sufficient evidence has been gathered to prove that asbestos exposure can cause ovarian cancer.

In March 2009 the IARC announced, "Sufficient evidence is now available to show that asbestos also causes cancer of the larynx and of the ovary"

Cohort studies of women who were heavily exposed to asbestos in the workplace consistently report increased risks of ovarian cancer, as in a study of women in the UK who manufactured gas masks during World War II.
Studies suggest that asbestos can accumulate in the ovaries of women who are exposed to it. "Although it may have taken decades" worth of studies to prove the connection, it has been medically established that asbestos exposure can cause ovarian cancer. Additional research will continue to reveal the biological underpinnings of this causal relationship and will hopefully also help lead to a cure for this asbestos-related cancer.

2. 293 3. cum_powder_and_cancer.asp 4. ies.php
5. Cramer, D.,Liberman, R.Titus-Ernstoff, L.,et al. (1999). " Genital talc exposure and risk of ovarian cancer". International Journal of Cancer: 351-356.
6.Can asbestos cause cancer of the ovary or genital tract?
7. It is possible. One Italian study looked at women who had been compensated for asbestos exposure in their occupation and found a higher incidence of both ovarian and uterine cancer in those women
8. Another study looked microscopically at the ovaries of women whose husbands were exposed to asbestos at work and compared them to women who had not history of exposure. They found evidence of asbestos in almost 70% of women whose husbands were exposed and 35% of the other women!
9. Thus if 35% of all women have asbestos exposure and there is only a 1.4% lifetime incidence of ovarian cancer, there must be additional factors to consider. On the other hand, asbestos must still be seriously considered as a possible ovarian cancer causing agent.
Ovarian Cancer and Asbestos Exposure

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women in the United States, accounting for three percent of all cancers in American women. Of all cancers that affect the female reproductive system, ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rates
This form of cancer affects the ovaries, a pair of female reproductive glands.
Exactly how ovarian cancer develops is not completely understood, but a number of risk factors have been identified.

One of these risk factors, exposure to asbestos, was recently confirmed in March 2009 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRAC). Other risk factors include age, personal and family cancer history, hormonal cycling, number of pregnancies, and environmental factors. Environmental factors aside from asbestos exposure include toxic solvents, dyes, organic dusts, talc, and triazine herbicides.

Additionally, asbestos exposure has been proven to cause all forms of mesothelioma cancer (including the most common pleural mesothelioma) lung cancer and laryngeal cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, exposure to asbestos also increases a person's risk of developing throat, oesophagus, kidney and gall-bladder cancer.

Asbestos exposure has also been linked to gastrointestinal cancer and colorectal cancer.
Ovarian cancer is often termed the silent cancer, as it grows quietly and is often only detected at the final stages, and it is the fourth biggest killer of all cancers for New Zealand women. About three hundred and twelve new cases are diagnosed annually with 173 deaths. Until now, it has been thought the main risk factors included a family history of the disease, having already had breast cancer and starting periods at a young age. Women who are overweight or use hormone replacement therapy are also thought to be more at risk.

Note: My sister Yvonne was the only one in our family to die from ovarian cancer. There were seven girls in our family and four have already died. I have not been able to find anyone in either my mother's side or father's side who have died from this either and only one of my sister's children who have developed a breast cancer.

My parents had 16 children. The eldest was my sister who was born in 1921, the youngest, my brother in 1946. Forty- plus grandchildren and numerous great grand- children So I believe if there was going to be a family history of ovarian cancer it would have shown by now. I would say that talcum powder has a lot to answer for in my sister's case

The following is an article from The Otago Daily Times, printed on the 3rd April 2009
Women warned of talcum powder danger Home,
News, World Sunday, 28th Sep 2008 News:
World | Health
Women have been warned to immediately stop using talcum powder around their genitals in the wake of research which suggests particles may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.

Although previous studies have raised concerns over talc, the latest findings from the United States suggest women who use it are fourty percent more likely to get ovarian cancer, a much greater risk than first thought.
The Telegraph newspaper reported....The findings, published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, apply only to talcum powder used around the private parts, not on the rest of the body Experts from Harvard Medical School in Boston studied more than 3000 women and found using talc merely once a week raised the risk of ovarian cancer by 36 percent, rising to 41 percent for those applying powder every day.

Dr Maggie Gates, who led the study, said that until the outcome of further research women should avoid using talcum powder in the genital area. One alternative is cornstarch powder.

The study revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile.

Women carrying a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1, or GSTM1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1), were nearly three times as likely to develop tumours.

Around one in 10 Caucasian women are thought to have this genetic profile, putting them at sharply increased risk.

Talc is made from a soft mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate, which is found throughout the world. It is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products by millions .
Some experts say it has chemical similarities to asbestos, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer.
Laboratory tests show ovarian cells exposed to talc divide more rapidly - a characteristic sign of cancer. Until recently there was no proof that powder could travel through a woman's reproductive tract as far as the pelvis and then on to the ovaries.

But last year, a separate group of doctors at Harvard Medical School identified tiny particles of powder in the pelvis of a 68 year old woman with advanced ovarian cancer who had used talc every day for 30 years.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Is a double dose of misery that develops in the lungs and does not ever go away. It is primarily associated with smoking, but it is also a condition that asbestos in the lungs can contribute to. COPD is a term for chronic bronchitis combined with emphysema.

The National Asbestos Registers were established in March 1992 in line with recommendations made to the Minister of Labour by the Asbestos Advisory Committee


Asbestos and Other Occupational Lung Diseases in New Zealand 1992-2008

1.8 Discussion Information recorded in the Disease Register under- estimates the total burden of asbestos-related disease in New Zealand. This is a consequence of the voluntary nature of the Register, lack of understanding of work as a factor in disease causation by the medical profession, and failure by the Cancer Registry to code occupation in their database.

However the Register continues to serve a useful purpose,
(or would if it was made compulsory for the medical profession and the Cancer Registry to do their job, not just if they want to)
There is now a greater awareness of the work factor in disease than in 1992.
In my eyes, if the job is not done properly then what is the point of doing at all. Someone really needs to look into this and do something about it .

The Registers, part of the wider Notifiable Occupational Disease System (NODS) operated by the Department of Labour have, in the view of the medical panel, played an important part in encouraging these developments.
1.8.1 Pleural Plaques One of the aims of the medical panel was to confirm the view that pleural plaques were not just a marker of exposure, but represented a disease - state.
The Department of Labour publication Lung Function Changes in Asbestos Exposed Workers with Pleural Abnormalities in 2000 indicated a clear dose response pattern, including a reduction of FVC and FEV1 with increasing asbestos exposure, independent of smoking habit.
The increasing use of HRCT has resulted in the identification of minor degrees of asbestosis often with few, if any, symptoms and no disability. It is possible that these individuals will have a better long-term outlook, although this is not yet established.

1.8.3 Lung Cancer The contribution of occupational asbestos exposure to the causation of lung cancer is well recognised as being underestimated, and over-attributed to smoking among workers exposed to asbestos.
One approach to this issue is to determine the ratio between mesothelioma and lung cancer on the grounds that most mesotheliomas are diagnosed and the majority are regarded as being caused by asbestos exposure at work.

Various estimates of such a ratio have been suggested and can range from 1 to 10.  Even if the lower ratio of 1:2 is taken - based on the mesothelioma cases diagnosed over 994 - 2005, for example - some 1,594 cases of lung cancer due to asbestos exposure would have occurred, or approximately 145 a year.
It is likely that this figure could be even higher
1.8.4 Mesothelioma Reported cases of mesothelioma have continued to rise in New Zealand over the past decade as was shown in Figure 4, and based on the New Zealand Cancer Registry.

It is of interest to note the mean exposure index for mesothelioma of 152 - as recorded by the panel - is not dissimilar to exposure indices for pleural plaques (162), lung cancer (162) and asbestosis (180). In other words, mesothelioma, like other asbestos-related conditions, is in general dose dependant.

1.8.5 Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) and Asbestos Exposure These conditions are now being recorded if present in individuals with an asbestos-related disease, as well as in those asbestos-exposed workers who have no confirmed asbestos-related lung or pleural disease.
Over the past year 33% of the 85 cases of asbestos-related disease also had COPD, 40% among cases of pleural plaques, 45% among asbestosis cases, 80% among lung cancer cases and 0% among cases of mesothelioma. In addition, eight cases that were referred to the Panel because of asbestos

2.4 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease (CORD), or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), as it is now more commonly referred to, "is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide".

It is defined as a condition with airflow limitation which is not fully reversible, is progressive and is associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. Historically, and still, the major cause is cigarette smoking.
However, there is increasing evidence indicating that exposure to dusts, gases, and fumes at work are linked to the development of COPD.
As a result, it is now recognised as an occupational disease in certain situations, with likely additive effects occurring between smoking and some workplace exposures.

Contaminants of air associated in studies with work- related COPD, include welding fumes silica, coal, oil mist, Portland cement, cotton, grain and wood dusts The production of Portland cement used to include asbestos in the make-up

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - The American Lung Association reports that exposure to asbestos can easily irritate a previously existing case of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In some cases, asbestos exposure may even be one of the factors that cause the condition. COPD refers to two conditions: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The airways and air sacs of the lungs of a patient with COPD lose elasticity. This can make exhalation difficult and can cause air to become trapped inside the lungs.

This category of illness includes afflictions that create similar symptoms due to toxins other than cigarette smoke. They are caused by exposure to hazardous inhalants in the workplace or on remote job sites.

Latest PubMed Articles
Does Long - Term Asbestos Exposure Cause an Obstructive Ventilation...
This review shows that long-term exposure
to asbestos- containing dust
leads not only to a reduction
of lung volume as well
as to limitations of forced expiratory flows,
such as FEF (50) and FEF (75),
but also to increased frequencies of FEV (1)/FVC,
and elevated airway resistance.

There is evidence for significant
dose-response relationships
and an increase in functional changes
in parallel to an increase
due to the latency period.
Remarkably, even asbestos workers without
radiologically detectable pleural
or parenchymal changes already show
these functional impairments.
In non-smokers,
asbestos-induced lung function impairment
is usually small on average,
although some of these subjects
show functional impairment of clinical relevance
in the pathological range.

In asbestos workers who also smoke,
due to synergistic effects,
lung function,
especially of the peripheral airways,
is highly significantly reduced.
The use of inappropriate reference values,
healthy worker effects,
and airway trapping lead to
an underestimation of asbestos-induced
lung function impairments.

There are no differences among the various occupations
associated with asbestos exposure.
Affiliation Ordinariat Arbeitsmedizin,
Universitary Atsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf,
Zentral institut Arbeits medizin und Maritime Medizin.
Journal Details Name:
Pneumologie (Stuttgart, Germany) ISSN: 1438-8790

Occupational Lung Diseases

This category of illness includes afflictions
that create similar symptoms due to
toxins other than cigarette smoke.
They are caused by exposure to
hazardous inhalants in the workplace
or on remote jobsites.
Coal miners are not the only ones
at risk for occupational lung diseases;
they are only the best known example.
Employees working in a car garage,
a textile factory,
steel or paper mills or a power plant
are often exposed to asbestos,
which can lead to asbestosis
or mesothelioma cancer.

Asbestos can also be found in a wide
variety of locations along with other
hazardous chemicals, dusts,
and fibres that may lead to a lifetime
of pulmonary symptoms if not
properly diagnosed and treated.

Exposure to asbestos fibres
or other airborne toxins
can trigger COPD especially
when combined with cigarette smoking.
Occupational lung disorders
are the number one cause of work-related illness.
Occupational lung diseases
in general are similar to
asbestos related afflictions.
They are most often caused by repeated,
long-term exposure,
but can also be the result of a
single hazardous occurrence.
Smoking increases the likelihood
and severity of an
occupational lung disease.
Any respiratory toxicity will
heighten the risk of lung cancer.
A Common and Often Hidden
Respiratory Disorder.
While COPD may be a relatively
new term to many people,
the respiratory disorders
that are included in COPD are not.
COPD is a widespread affliction
in most countries,
impacting a large number of
people - especially older people.
More than twelve million people

are currently diagnosed with COPD.
An additional twelve million
probably have the disease
and don't know it.

COPD develops slowly,
as the lungs are damaged over
a period of time
by tobacco smoke
and airborne toxins.
Because symptoms develop gradually
the diagnosis is usually made
after substantial damage has been done.
Eventually severe COPD may prevent
a patient from basic physical activity,
making this among the most
debilitating of diseases.
Most of the time,
COPD is diagnosed in middle-aged
or older people.
It is self-induced,
in the sense that the disease isn't passed
from person to person.
COPD has no cure yet;
nor is there a way to reverse the damage.
Treatment can only slow the
progression of the disease.


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