Superfund Research Program
Social Determinants of Risk and Attitudes About Asbestos in a Superfund Environmental Justice (EJ) Community
The goal of social determinants of risk and attitudes about asbestos in a superfund environmental justice community is to understand the different sources of exposure to asbestos among people who developed mesothelioma in the Ambler region using case-control and retrospective cohort designs. The case-control study is designed to learn whether there are environmental, non-occupational risk factors for the development of mesothelioma. In the first year of the study, ethnographic interviews were conducted to identify possible sources of exposure. This information was used to develop a survey that includes questions related to occupational history, health history, health services utilization, residential location, proximity to asbestos waste piles, and lifestyle patterns. The survey is now being administered to 100 people (cases) or their proxies in the Ambler region who developed mesothelioma, identified through the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry. The survey is also being administered to 200 people in the Ambler region who did not develop mesothelioma (controls) but who are matched in age to those who did. In the retrospective cohort study, all individuals (n=4,524) who lived in Ambler at the time have been identified through the 1930 census. Through use of Ancestry.com, resident knowledge, and the National Death Index, the ultimate cause and date of death of approximately 75 percent of these individuals will be identified, thus allowing rate approximation of asbestos-related diseases while compensating for problems associated with the case-control study such as out-migration and lifetime exposure history.