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Asbestos has been in the news recently, with health issues surrounding it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States has proposed a framework that opens the door to new uses for asbestos. Many other countries ban all forms of asbestos, what are the risks, and should anyone be concerned?
Chemical Exposure And Mesothelioma Risk: Research Findings
Asbestos is the collective name for fibrous silicate minerals. These mineral fibers are classified into two main groups: serpentine and amphibole. Serpentine fibers are curly and flexible, while amphibole fibers are stiff and straight.
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Chrysotile asbestos, also known as ‘white asbestos’, is a type of serpentine fibre. It is the most widely used asbestos today, accounting for more than 90% of world production. Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos) are amphibole fibers that are rarely used.
Asbestos is heat resistant and does not burn. It is a good insulator, and is strong while being soft and flexible. Because of these properties, it is commonly used for roofing and insulation. Other uses are cement pipes, car brake pads and tiles.
Since the health risks of asbestos became clear, many countries have banned its use. However, their legacy is that many buildings older than 20 years contain asbestos. It is estimated that 94% of London hospitals contain asbestos and it can also be found in old houses. They are harmless if left undisturbed, but can be expensive to remove.
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The ban on asbestos was first implemented when numerous scientific studies showed that it could cause cancer in exposed individuals. In particular, exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The nature of asbestos fibers is the key to its health effects. Very fine fibers, some as thin as 1 micrometer in diameter, can be inhaled. Some of them may then remain in the lungs. There, they can cause inflammation and scarring, leading to a condition known as asbestosis. Ultimately, it can increase the risk of developing certain cancers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) are clear that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic. The WHO has called on all countries to ban its use in any form.
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It is estimated that asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma cause 107,000 deaths worldwide each year. Further estimates suggest that 4% of all lung cancers are caused by asbestos. People exposed to asbestos at work are more likely to develop asbestosis or cancer.
The effects of asbestos take a long time to become apparent because it can take a long time after exposure for symptoms to develop. In some cases, asbestos-related cancers can take more than 40 years to develop and be diagnosed.
Asbestos is banned in more than 55 countries around the world. In most cases, this is a complete ban on all forms of asbestos and all uses. However, in some countries, partial bans allow some use. More worryingly, nine of the ten most populous countries in the world do not have a complete ban on the use of asbestos. These include China, Russia and the United States.
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In 1989, the EPA attempted to introduce a complete ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, and sale of products containing asbestos. However, asbestos manufacturers successfully challenged the regulation, and it was narrowed again to cover only a few uses. Although compensation for asbestos-related diseases has limited the use of asbestos, some uses are still permitted in the United States.
EPA did not remove existing restrictions but proposed a ‘significant new use rule’ (SNUR) for asbestos. This will allow them to evaluate and potentially approve new uses of asbestos. They claim that this will allow them to protect against unsafe use. More controversially, the EPA has suggested that it will not assess the health risks of ‘legacy uses’ of asbestos, which could exclude certain asbestos-like fibers from the risk assessment.
There are also some concerns related to Donald Trump’s announcement about asbestos. He says he thinks ‘the movement against asbestos is mob-led, because it’s often mob-linked companies that get rid of it’. This statement is unfounded – an attempt to enforce regulations based on the known cancer-causing ability of asbestos.
Health Impact Of Asbestos
Asbestos manufacturers claim that modern asbestos products do not pose the same hazards as older ones. However, scientific evidence does not seem to support this. The World Health Organization is clear that they consider all forms of asbestos to cause cancer and support an immediate ban.
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Talcum Powder & Cancer Risk: Does Talc Cause Cancer?
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Risk of death from malignant and non-malignant respiratory diseases among talc miners and millers: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
By Catalina Ciocan Catalina Ciocan Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar 1, Alessandro Godono Alessandro Godono Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar 1, * , Sandro Stefanin Sandro Stefanin Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar 2, Paolo Boffetta Paolo Scilit Preprints 3. , 4, Enrico Pira Enrico Pira Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar 1 and Marco Clari Marco Clari Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar 1
Prediagnostic Detection Of Mesothelioma By Circulating Calretinin And Mesothelin
Received: September 15, 2022 / Revised: September 30, 2022 / Accepted: October 3, 2022 / Published: October 5, 2022
There are conflicting data on the relationship between talc exposure and lung and pleural cancer. Given the potential importance of this aspect, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the relationship between working in the talc extraction industry and mortality from malignant and non-malignant respiratory diseases. We systematically searched three relevant electronic databases for relevant articles following PRISMA guidelines: Pubmed, Scopus and WebOfScience, from inception to November 30, 2021. The methodological quality of included articles was assessed using the US National Institutes of Health tool. Standard incidence ratios (SIRs) and standard mortality ratios (SMRs) for malignant and non-malignant respiratory diseases as well as 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were derived or calculated for each cohort. Six articles comprising 7 cohorts were included in the meta-analysis. Mortality was increased for pneumoconiosis, especially in our group of miners (SMR = 7.90, CI 95% 2.77-22.58) and especially for those exposed to high quartz concentrations, and for non-malignant respiratory diseases in the overall analysis (SMR = 1.81, CI). 95% 1.15–2.82). Lung cancer mortality was slightly increased in the overall analysis (SMR = 1.42, CI 95% 1.07-1.89). The risk of malignant mesothelioma cannot be calculated due to an insufficient number of studies to evaluate these results. This systematic review and meta-analysis provides evidence that men working in the talc mining industry have increased mortality for non-malignant respiratory diseases, including pneumoconiosis. The slight excess in lung cancer mortality can be explained, in part, by a higher prevalence of smokers in some of the cohorts analyzed or exposure to other carcinogens such as radon decay products and diesel engine exhaust.
Talc is a natural lamellar structured silicate, widely used in industrial and commercial products as well as for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. Talc containing asbestos (“fibrous talc”) was first classified in 1997  and confirmed as a Group 1 agent (carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2010 when talc is undetectable. . This level of asbestos is classified as a Group 3 agent (unclassified as carcinogenic in humans).
Pdf) Association Between Mesothelioma And Non Occupational Asbestos Exposure: Systematic Review And Meta Analysis
Occupational exposure to talc dust
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