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Occupational Burden of Asbestos-related Cancer in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico

Authors:

Roberto Pasetto ,

Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
About Roberto
MSc
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Benedetto Terracini,

University of Turin, (Retired), Turin, Italy
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Daniela Marsili,

Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
About Daniela
MSc
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Pietro Comba

Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
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PhD
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Abstract

Background

An estimate at the national level of the occupational cancer burden brought about by the industrial use of asbestos requires detailed routine information on such uses as well as on vital statistics of good quality. A causal association with asbestos exposure has been established for mesothelioma and cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to provide estimates of the occupational burden of asbestos-related cancer for the Latin American countries that are or have been the highest asbestos consumers in the region: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

Methods

The burden of multifactorial cancers has been estimated through the approach suggested for the World Health Organization using the population attributable fraction. The following data were used:

Proportion of workforce employed in each economic sector

Proportion of workers exposed to asbestos in each sector

Occupational turnover

Levels of exposure

Proportion of the population in the workforce

Relative risk for each considered disease for 1 or more levels of exposure

 

Data on the proportion of workers exposed to asbestos in each sector are not available for Latin American countries; therefore, data from the European CAREX database (carcinogen exposure database) were used.

Findings

Using mortality data of the World Health Organization Health Statistics database for the year 2009 and applying the estimated values for population attributable fractions, the number of estimated deaths in 5 years for mesothelioma and for lung, larynx, and ovary cancers attributable to occupational asbestos exposures, were respectively 735, 233, 29, and 14 for Argentina; 340, 611, 68, and 43 for Brazil; 255, 97, 14, and 9 for Colombia, and 1075, 219, 18, and 22 for Mexico.

Conclusions

The limitations in compiling the estimates highlight the need for improvement in the quality of asbestos-related environmental and health data. Nevertheless, the figures are already usable to promote a ban on asbestos use.

How to Cite: Pasetto, R., Terracini, B., Marsili, D. and Comba, P., 2014. Occupational Burden of Asbestos-related Cancer in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Annals of Global Health, 80(4), pp.263–268. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2014.09.003
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Published on 25 Nov 2014.
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