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Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Asbestos in High-Risk Communities: Public Health Implications.

Authors: Emmett, Edward A

Published In Int J Environ Res Public Health, (2021 Feb 07)

Abstract: Asbestos-related diseases (ARDs)-mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis-are well known as occupational diseases. As industrial asbestos use is eliminated, ARDs within the general community from para-occupational, environmental, and natural exposures are more prominent. ARD clusters have been studied in communities including Broni, Italy; Libby, Montana; Wittenoom, Western Australia; Karain, Turkey; Ambler, Pennsylvania; and elsewhere. Community ARDs pose specific public health issues and challenges. Community exposure results in higher proportions of mesothelioma in women and a younger age distribution than occupational exposures. Exposure amount, age at exposure, fiber type, and genetic predisposition influence ARD expression; vulnerable groups include those with social and behavioral risk, exposure to extreme events, and genetic predispositions. To address community exposure, regulations should address all carcinogenic elongated mineral fibers. Banning asbestos mining, use, and importation will not reduce risks from asbestos already in place. Residents of high-risk communities are characteristically exposed through several pathways differing among communities. Administrative responsibility for controlling environmental exposures is more diffuse than for workplaces, complicated by diverse community attitudes to risk and prevention and legal complexity. The National Mesothelioma Registries help track the identification of communities at risk. High-risk communities need enhanced services for screening, diagnosis, treatment, and social and psychological support, including for retired asbestos workers. Legal settlements could help fund community programs. A focus on prevention, public health programs, particularization to specific community needs, and participation is recommended.

PubMed ID: 33562413 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: No MeSH terms associated with this publication

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