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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1385-1386
Targeting asbestos across different industries to minimize the incidence of asbestos-related diseases on the global front


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Tamil Nadu, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Targeting asbestos across different industries to minimize the incidence of asbestos-related diseases on the global front. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1385-6

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Targeting asbestos across different industries to minimize the incidence of asbestos-related diseases on the global front. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 May 22];10:1385-6. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1385/196698


Dear Sir,

Asbestos is a group of naturally found mineral being used in a wide range of products across different industries.[1] The current estimates suggest that almost 2 million ton of asbestos is produced each year, of which half is consumed in China and India alone.[1],[2] Moreover, the real public health concern is the carcinogenicity attributed to exposure to all forms of the asbestos, which generally enters the body through inhalation.[1],[3] However, the incidence of disease is determined by the type of fiber, their size, and dose of exposure; nevertheless, no threshold level has been established.[2],[3] Moreover, simultaneous exposure to tobacco smoke results in a significant rise in the incidence of the lung cancer.[1],[2]

The findings of different studies have conclusively established the association between exposure to asbestos and development of malignancy of lung, larynx, mesothelioma, and ovaries and lung fibrosis.[1],[2],[3] The global figures reflect that in excess of 120 million people across the world are exposed to the mineral at their workplace, and more than 0.1 million occupational deaths have been reported each year.[2],[3] In fact, it has been estimated that almost 50% of the occupational cancer-attributed deaths, and thousands of people die in domiciliary settings, are due to the exposure to asbestos annually.[1],[2] Also, it is important to understand that the caseload of asbestos-related diseases are still on the rise despite a ban imposed on their use couple of decades back, and this is predominantly because of the long latent period associated with it.[3],[4]

Acknowledging the magnitude of the diseases and the definitive risk of development of malignancy, international agencies have time and again advocated for the elimination of the associated diseases.[4] In fact, in excess of 50 nations have completely banned the use of any form of the mineral, but considering its widespread occurrence in both urban and industrial settings, achieving its global elimination from the environment in the short term is difficult.[1],[4] Considering the fact that no threshold level has been defined and all forms are linked with the risk of cancer, the most effective way will be to stop usage of all types of asbestos.[1] Further, there is a great responsibility on the developed nations to either support or offer technical assistance or share their experiences with the developing nations to eliminate different diseases.[4]

A wide range of interventions have been proposed to minimize the incidence of different morbidities and fatalities, such as providing information to industries to replace asbestos with safer substitutes; implementing physical modifications in the industries to ensure safe removal; sensitizing awareness about the hazards associated with the asbestos-containing materials; motivating workers to use personal protective equipments (like special respirators, goggles, gloves, and clothing) to prevent exposure; establishing a system for periodic medical examination to facilitate early diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation services; and maintaining records of people with history or current exposure and following them in future.[1],[3],[4],[5]

To conclude, asbestos is widely used in different industries across many developing nations. However, owing to the potential risk of cancer, all the nations should aim to globally eliminate the use of asbestos and associated diseases.

Acknowledgements

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseases - Fact sheet; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs343/en/. [Last accessed on 30 Jun 2016].   Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Takahashi K, Landrigan PJ, Collegium Ramazzini. The global health dimensions of asbestos and asbestos-related diseases. Ann Glob Health 2016;82:209-13.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Vangelova K, Dimitrova I. Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma incidence and mortality in Bulgaria. Rev Environ Health 2016;31:203-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.
Marsili D, Terracini B, Santana VS, Ramos-Bonilla JP, Pasetto R, Mazzeo A. et al. Prevention of asbestos-related disease in countries currently using asbestos. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2016;13:E494.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Merler E, Paci E, Consonni D, Giorgi Rossi P. Identification, early diagnosis, and monitoring of workers exposed to asbestos. Where are we? Epidemiol Prev 2016;40:3-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196698

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