Mesothelioma amongst former Australian asbestos workers

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Mesothelioma amongst former Australian asbestos workers

The results from an analysis of malignant mesothelioma deaths amongst former crocidolite workers from Western Australia are published by Geoffrey Berry and colleagues [1]. Over 300 people have already died from mesothelioma and the authors expect a further 60 or 70 to die from this disease by 2020.

Crocidolite (blue asbestos) was mined from 1937 to 1966at Wittenoom, Western Australia. In total about 7,000 people worked at the mine and mill. They were predominantly young, single and male – many were immigrants from Italy. About three quarters of the workers stayed for less than a year, and only 5% worked for more than 5-years.

The number of deaths increased with time since first exposure for the first 35 to 40 years and then declined.

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