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Lung Cancer. 2012 Feb;75(2):151-5. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2011.06.013. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Cancer mortality among Chinese chrysotile asbestos textile workers.

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School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


To determine mortality associated with exposure to chrysotile asbestos, a cohort of asbestos workers from an asbestos textile factory in China was followed prospectively from 1972 to 2008. A total 577 workers were successfully followed, achieving a follow-up rate of 98.5% over 37 years. Employment data and smoking information were obtained from factory and individual workers. Vital status was ascertained from factory personnel records and the municipal death registry. Workers were categorized into high, medium and low exposure groups in terms of their job titles and workshops. Follow-up generated 17,508 person-years, with 259 deaths from all causes, 96 all cancers and 53 lung cancers and 2 mesotheliomas. The highest cancer mortality was observed in the high exposure group, with 1.5-fold age-adjusted mortality from all cancers and 2-fold from lung cancer compared to the low exposure group. Age and smoking adjusted hazard ratio in the high exposure group was 2.99 (95%CI, 1.30, 6.91) for lung cancer and 2.04 (1.12, 3.71) for all cancers. Both smokers and nonsmokers at the high exposure level had a high death risk of lung cancer, with a clearer exposure-response trend seen in smokers. This study confirmed increased mortality from lung cancer and all cancers in asbestos workers, and the cancer mortality was associated with exposure level.

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