Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Warning of massive rises in deaths from asbestos-related lung diseases in Asia

Science News

Deaths and Major Morbidity from Asbestos-Related Diseases in Asia Likely to Surge in Next 20 Years, Experts Warn

ScienceDaily (June 10, 2011) — An alarming new article in Respirology issues a serious warning of massive rises in deaths from asbestos-related lung diseases in Asia.

Dr Ken Takahashi, Acting Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Occupational Health, and his team put together important data on asbestos use in 47 Asian countries in this landmark article. Cyprus, Israel and Japan had the highest age-adjusted mortality rates in Asia. This study published in Respirology, a journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, will serve as an important reference document for health authorities in Asian-Pacific.

Asian countries accounted for 64% of the global consumption of asbestos in the period of 2001-2007, a striking increase from 14% between 1920 and 1970. This is a result of unregulated asbestos import and use in many Asian countries.

"Despite concerns of the global ARD epidemic and Asia's growing importance in the world, data on current asbestos use and asbestos related diseases in Asia remain limited," said Dr. Ken Takahashi. This article extracted data from the WHO Mortality Database and published literature and will inform public health planning and regional health policies in Asian countries.

The WHO identifies asbestos as one of the most dangerous occupational carcinogens, declaring the need to eliminate asbestos use and associated health damages. An estimated 107,000 people worldwide die from asbestos related diseases. Asbestos is a mineral fiber commonly used for insulation in constructions. It is relatively affordable and makes it attractive in developing countries.

Asbestos related lung diseases, particularly mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis (asbestos induced lung fibrosis), typically develop after decades of lag time from first exposure. Up to 2007, Asian patients accounted for 13% of the cumulative global mortality from asbestos-related pleura-pulmonary diseases. Dr. Takahashi is concerned that "the sharp increase in asbestos use in Asia will see a surge of mortality and morbidity from asbestos related diseases in this region in the decades ahead."

This article will serve as a stern warning for Asian governments who have yet to ban the use of asbestos. Healthcare providers in Asia must also begin to equip themselves the expertise and resources to manage this 'Asian asbestos tsunami.'

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Asbestos use and asbestos-related diseases in Asia: past, present and future

Background and objective: Although there are growing concerns about the global epidemic of asbestos-related diseases (ARDs), the current status of asbestos use and ARDs in Asia is elusive. We conducted a descriptive analysis of available data on asbestos use and ARDs to characterize the current situation in Asia.
Methods: We employed descriptive indicators of per capita asbestos use (kilograms per capita per year) and age-adjusted mortality rates (AAMRs, persons per million population per year) by country and for the region, with reference to the world.
Results: The proportion of global asbestos use attributed to Asia has been steadily increasing over the years from 14% (1920-1970) to 33% (1971-2000) to 64% (2001-2007). This increase has been reflected in the absolute level of per capita use across a wide range of countries. In contrast, 12,882 ARD deaths have been recorded cumulatively in Asia, which is equivalent to only 13% of the cumulative number of ARD deaths in the world during the same period. The highest AAMRs were recorded in Cyprus (4.8), Israel (3.7) and Japan (3.3), all of which have banned asbestos use.
Conclusions: There is a paucity of information concerning the current situation of ARDs in Asia. The marked increase in asbestos use in Asia since 1970, however, is likely to trigger a surge of ARDs in the immediate decades ahead.
Summary at a glance: There is currently a lack of ARD data in Asia, but Asian countries have substantially increased their asbestos use since 1970. This increase will likely trigger a surge of ARDs in the coming decades.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.01975.x
© 2011 The Authors. Respirology © 2011 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, Vol. 16 Issue 4
1. Giang Vinh Le1,
2. Ken Takahashi1,*,
3. Eun-Kee Park1,
4. Vanya Delgermaa1,
5. Chulho Oak2,
6. Ahmad Munir Qureshi3,
7. Syed Mohamed Aljunid3

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