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Ann Occup Hyg. 1997 Dec;41(6):699-705.

Chrysotile, tremolite and carcinogenicity.

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1
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, U.K.

Abstract

It has been suspected for many years that amphibole fibres in the tremolite series, a low level contaminant of chrysotile asbestos, may contribute disproportionately to the incidence of mesothelioma and perhaps other exposure-related cancers. A cohort of some 11,000 Quebec chrysotile workers, 80% of whom have now died, provided the opportunity to examine this hypothesis further. An analysis was made of deaths from mesothelioma (21), cancers of the lung (262), larynx (15), stomach (99), and colon and rectum (76), in men employed by the largest company in Thetford Mines, with closely matched referents. Risks were estimated by logistic regression for these five cancers in two groups of mines--five mines located centrally and ten mines located peripherally; tremolite contamination had been demonstrated to be some four times higher in the former than in the latter. Odds ratios for work in the central mines were raised substantially and significantly for mesothelioma and lung cancer, but not for the gastric, intestinal or laryngeal cancer sites. In the peripheral mines, there was little or no evidence of increased risk for any of the five cancers. The hypothesis that, because of the difference in distribution of fibrous tremolite, cancer risks in the central area would be greater than in the periphery was thus substantiated. That the explanation may lie in the greater biopersistence of amphibole fibres than chrysotile is important in framing policies for the use and control of asbestos and is directly relevant to the selection of man-made mineral fibre substitutes.

PMID:
9375528
DOI:
10.1016/S0003-4878(97)89350-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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