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Awareness About Asbestos And Mesothelioma Research

The World Health Organization has been taking keen interest in the prevention of diseases caused due to exposure to chemicals and poisonous emissions at the workplace.

Asbestos is one of the most dangerous and carcinogenic products found in the workplace leading to deaths caused due to cancerous diseases like mesothelioma.

The Thirteenth Session of the Joint ILO/WHO Committee of Occupational Health in 2003 decided that they would conduct mesothelioma research and work towards the prevention of diseases caused due to asbestos exposure.

Exposure to asbestos causes various kinds of diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis as well as pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which is extensively used in industries due to its tensile strength, reduced heat conduction as well as resistance to chemical attack.

It is a group of minerals found naturally as flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. Industries like cement, textile, insulation and flooring products use them extensively.

Tiny asbestos particles are light and can float and be inhaled. Though as much as 10% of cases of mesothelioma have reasons unknown and patients have never had asbestos exposure, asbestos is considered the prime cause of mesothelioma. These asbestos fibers when inhaled cannot be breathed out. The different varieties of asbestos are chrysotile asbestos and crocidolite, amosite, anthyophylite which come under the amphiboles category.

According to The World Health Organsiation conducting mesothelioma research, the chrysotile asbestos is very dangerous to the health and can cause cancer. Along with WHO, organizations like Canadian Cancer Society etc. are also working towards the prevention of cancerous mesothelioma and organizing mesothelioma research. Canada is taking keen interest in prevention of asbestos as it has many asbestos mines with the only functional one is at Quebec.

The Federal health agency is conducting a study on the repercussions of exposure to asbestos and is trying to find out the connection between chrysotile variant of asbestos and diseases like mesothelioma. The mesothelioma research indicates that all kinds of asbestos lead to a `a high incidence� of mesothelioma and any kind of a exposures was dangerous and the safe exposure level cannot be indicated.

According to Richard Lemen, a retired assistant U.S. surgeon-general, "Every legitimate world organization ... [has] concluded that chrysotile does indeed cause all asbestos-related diseases," This indicates that chrysotile is the main culprit in causing mesothelioma. The citizens of U.S. are also backing the ban of all forms of asbestos.

According to WHO mesothelioma research findings, as much as 125 million people are exposed to asbestos in their workplace across the world and about 90,000 have already dies of this deadly disease. Due to the long latency of this disease, it is expected the number of deaths will continue and will peak in 2015. It is also found that the prevention of further exposure to asbestos will only reduce the cases of mesothelioma rather than completely eradicate it.

Recommendation of WHO towards exposure of asbestos.

� Avoid usage of asbestos fibres in workplace and not disturb the fibres

� Encapsulation, wet processing, local exhaust ventilation with filtration, cleaning needs to be done in workplace

� Usage of personal protection like goggles, respirators, gloves, clothing

� Provide information about the alternative material that can used instead of asbestos

� Preventive measures towards exposure to asbestos

� Early diagnosis, treatment and necessary rehabilitation of people exposed to asbestos

� Keep track on the people being exposed to asbestos in the past

Submitted by:

Adia O'hara



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