Occupational exposure to asbestos and mortality among asbestos removal workers

Occupational exposure to asbestos and mortality among asbestos removal workers: a Poisson regression analysis
by G Frost, A-H Harding, A Darnton, D McElvenny, and D Morgan

The asbestos industry has shifted from manufacture to stripping/removal work. The aim of this study was to investigate early indications of mortality among removal workers. The study population consisted of 31 302 stripping/removal workers in the Great Britain Asbestos Survey, followed up to December 2005. Relative risks (RR) for causes of death with elevated standardised mortality ratios (SMR) and sufficient deaths were obtained from...more>>

Materials and methods
The Great Britain Asbestos Survey was established in 1971 to monitor mortality among workers in the asbestos manufacturing industry. Workers were initially invited to participate in the survey with voluntary medical examinations at 2 yearly intervals. Under the Asbestos Licensing Regulations (ALR) 1983 all individuals working with certain kinds of asbestos were required to undergo statutory examinations including pre-employment examinations. At this time substantial numbers of asbestos strippers were recruite...more>>

Statistical analysis
Standardised mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated for all workers in the survey only ever employed in asbestos removal work (n=52 387). The expected number of deaths was calculated using the 5-year age-, period- and sex-specific mortality rates for England and Wales, and for Scotland. Person-years at risk were calculated from the date of ...more>>

In total, 52 387 asbestos removal workers took part in the survey between 1971 and 2005. Ninety-eight percent of workers were traced for follow-up with the NHSCR. Altogether 31 302 asbestos removal workers, who attended between one and 19 examinations during the study period, were included in the analysis (Table 1). Among the removal workers there were 985 deaths including 384 cancers, 115 lung cancers, and 23 mesotheliomas...more>>

The main strength of the study is that it captured the vast majority of asbestos removal workers covered by the regulations in Great Britain (GB), together with such confounders as smoking status and on the working practices of the participant specific to the asbestos removal industry.
The majority of removal workers included in the analysis...more>>

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information


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