Mesothelioma among brake mechanics: an expanded analysis of a casecontrol

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1 1 Risk Anal Jun;24(3): Related Articles, Links Mesothelioma among brake mechanics: an expanded analysis of a casecontrol study. Hessel PA, Teta MJ, Goodman M, Lau E. Exponent, Wood Dale, IL 60191, USA. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun discussions to consider its assessment of asbestos toxicity related to mineral form and fiber size. Brake workers are typically exposed to short chrysotile fibers. To explore the mesothelioma risk among brake workers, considering other occupational exposures to asbestos, data from a study that was published previously were obtained and the analysis was extended. The National Cancer Institute provided data from a case-control study of mesothelioma. Because many participants with a history of brake work also had employment in other asbestos-related occupations, mesothelioma cases and controls were compared for a history of brake work, controlling for employment in eight occupations with potential asbestos exposure. A stratified analysis was also performed excluding those with any of the eight occupations. Possible interactions between brake work and other occupational exposures related to risk of mesothelioma were also examined. The odds ratio (OR) for employment in brake installation or repair was 0.71 (95% CI: ) when controlled for insulation or shipbuilding. When a history of employment in any of the eight occupations with potential asbestos exposure was controlled, the OR was 0.82 (95% CI: ). ORs did not increase with increasing duration of brake work. Exclusion of those with any of the eight exposures resulted in an OR of 0.62 (95% CI: ) for occupational brake work. There was no evidence of an interaction between brake work and other occupational exposures. These latter analyses were based on small numbers of exposed cases. The results are consistent with the existing literature indicating that brake work does not increase the risk of mesothelioma and adds to the evidence that fiber type and size are important determinants of mesothelioma risk.

2 2 1: Occup Environ Med Apr;61(4): Related Articles, Links Mortality in a cohort of vermiculite miners exposed to fibrous amphibole in Libby, Montana. McDonald JC, Harris J, Armstrong B. Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK. BACKGROUND: Fibrous tremolite is a widespread amphibole asbestiform mineral, airborne fibres of which constitute an environmental hazard in Libby, Montana, northern California, and elsewhere. AIMS: To determine excess risk from lung cancer, mesothelioma, and all-cause mortality in a cohort of men exposed to tremolite, but no other form of asbestos. METHODS: Mortality by certified cause and various measures of exposure to tremolite and related amphibole fibres was assessed in a cohort of 406 vermiculite mineworkers in Libby, Montana, employed before 1963 and followed until RESULTS: Total deaths were: lung cancer 44 (SMR 2.40), non-malignant respiratory disease (NMRD) 51 (SMR 3.09), all causes 285 (SMR 1.27); included among the total were 12 deaths ascribed to mesothelioma (4.21% of all deaths). Adjusted linear increments in relative risks (per 100 f/ml.y), estimated by Poisson regression, were: lung cancer (0.36, 95% CI 0.03 to 1.20), NMRD (0.38, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.96), and all deaths (0.14, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.26). CONCLUSIONS: The all-cause linear model would imply a 14% increase in mortality for mine workers exposed occupationally to 100 f/ml.y or about 3.2% for a general population exposed for 50 years to an ambient concentration of 0.1 f/ml. Amphibole fibres, tremolite in particular, are likely to be disproportionately responsible for cancer mortality in persons exposed to commercial chrysotile, but to what extent cannot be readily assessed. PMID: [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

3 3 Ann Occup Hyg Jun;47(4): Related Articles, Links Exposure to brake dust and malignant mesothelioma: a study of 10 cases with mineral fiber analyses. Butnor KJ, Sporn TA, Roggli VL. University of Vermont Medical Center, Department of Pathology, Burlington, VT 05405, USA. OBJECTIVES: A large number of workers in the USA are exposed to chrysotile asbestos through brake repair, yet only a few cases of malignant mesothelioma (MM) have been described in this population. Epidemiologic and industrial hygiene studies have failed to demonstrate an increased risk of MM in brake workers. We present our experience of MM in individuals whose only known asbestos exposure was to brake dust and correlate these findings with lung asbestos fiber burdens. METHODS: Consultation files of one of the authors were reviewed for cases of MM in which brake dust was the only known asbestos exposure. Lung fiber analyses were performed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in all cases for which formalin-fixed or paraffin-embedded lung tissue was available. RESULTS: Ten cases of MM in brake dust-exposed individuals were males aged yr. Nine cases arose in the pleura and one in the peritoneum. Although the median lung asbestos body count (19 AB/g) is at our upper limit of normal (range 0-20 AB/g), half of the cases had levels within our normal range. In every case with elevated asbestos fiber levels by SEM, excess commercial amphibole fibers were also detected. Elevated levels of chrysotile and non-commercial amphibole fibers were detected only in cases that also had increased commercial amphibole fibers. CONCLUSIONS: Brake dust contains exceedingly low levels of respirable chrysotile, much of which consists of short fibers subject to rapid pulmonary clearance. Elevated lung levels of commercial amphiboles in some brake workers suggest that unrecognized exposure to these fibers plays a critical role in the development of MM. PMID: [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

4 4 1: Ann Occup Hyg Jul;46(5): Related Articles, Links Tremolite and mesothelioma. Roggli VL, Vollmer RT, Butnor KJ, Sporn TA. Department of Pathology, Duke University and Durham VA Medical Centers, NC 27710, USA. BACKGROUND: Exposure to chrysotile dust has been associated with the development of mesothelioma and recent studies have implicated contaminating tremolite fibers as the likely etiological factor. Tremolite also contaminates talc, the most common non-asbestos mineral fiber in our control cases. METHODS: We examined 312 cases of mesothelioma for which fiber burden analyses of lung parenchyma had been performed by means of scanning electron microscopy to determine the content of tremolite, non-commercial amphiboles, talc and chrysotile. The vast majority of these patients were exposed to dust from products containing asbestos. RESULTS: Tremolite was identified in 166 of 312 cases (53%) and was increased above background levels in 81 cases (26%). Fibrous talc was identified in 193 cases (62%) and correlated strongly with the tremolite content (P < ). Chrysotile was identified in only 32 cases (10%), but still correlated strongly with the tremolite content (P < ). Talc levels explained less of the tremolite deviance for cases with an increased tremolite level than for cases with a normal range tremolite level (22 versus 42%). In 14 cases (4.5%) non-commercial amphibole fibers (tremolite, actinolite and/or anthophyllite) were the only fiber types found above background. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that tremolite in lung tissue samples from mesothelioma victims derives from both talc and chrysotile and that tremolite accounts for a considerable fraction of the excess fiber burden in end-users of asbestos products. PMID: [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

5 5 Ultrastruct Pathol Mar-Apr;26(2): Related Articles, Links Malignant mesothelioma and occupational exposure to asbestos: a clinicopathological correlation of 1445 cases. Roggli VL, Sharma A, Butnor KJ, Sporn T, Vollmer RT. Department of Pathology, Durham Veterans Administration and Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina 27710, USA. Asbestos exposure is indisputably associated with development of mesothelioma. However, relatively few studies have evaluated the type of occupational exposure in correlation with asbestos fiber content and type. This study reports findings in 1445 cases of mesothelioma with known exposure history; 268 of these also had fiber burden analysis. The 1445 cases of mesothelioma were subclassified into 23 predominant occupational or exposure categories. Asbestos body counts per gram of wet lung tissue were determined by light microscopy. Asbestos fiber content and type were determined by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray analysis. Results were compared with a control group of 19 lung tissue samples. Ninety-four percent of the cases occurred among 19 exposure categories. Median asbestos body counts and levels of commercial and noncommercial amphibole fibers showed elevated levels for each of these 19 categories. Chrysotile fibers were detectable in 36 of 268 cases. All but 2 of these also had abovebackground levels of commercial amphiboles. When compared to commercial amphiboles, the median values for noncommercial amphibole fibers were higher in 4 of the 19 exposure groups. Most mesotheliomas in the United States fall into a limited number of exposure categories. Although a predominant occupation was ascertained for each of these cases, there was a substantial overlap in exposure types. All but 1 of the occupational categories analyzed had above-background levels of commercial amphiboles. Commercial amphiboles are responsible for most of the mesothelioma cases observed in the United States. PMID: [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

6 6 : Ann Occup Hyg Oct;45(7): Related Articles, Links Case-referent survey of young adults with mesothelioma: I. Lung fibre analyses. McDonald JC, Armstrong BG, Edwards CW, Gibbs AR, Lloyd HM, Pooley FD, Ross DJ, Rudd RM. National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK. OBJECTIVES: Our study aimed to determine the lung tissue concentration of asbestos and other mineral fibres by type and length in persons with mesothelioma aged 50 yr or less at time of diagnosis, compared to controls of similar age and geographical region. In this age group it was thought that most, but not all, work-related exposures would have been since 1970, when the importation of crocidolite, but not amosite, was virtually eliminated. METHODS: Eligible cases were sought from recent reports by chest physicians to the SWORD occupational disease surveillance scheme. Lung tissue samples were obtained at autopsy from 69 male and four female cases, and mineral fibres identified, sized and counted by electron microscopy. Fibre concentrations per microg dry tissue were compared with similar estimates from a control series of autopsies of sudden or accidental deaths. Unadjusted, and adjusted odds ratios calculated by logistic regression, assessed relative risk in relation to fibre type, length and concentration. RESULTS: Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios increased steadily with concentration of crocidolite, amosite, tremolite and all amphiboles combined. There was also some increase with chrysotile, but well short of statistical significance. Incremental risk examined in a linear model was as highly significant for all amphiboles together as individually. Short, medium and long amphibole fibres were all associated with increased risk in relation to length. Mullite and iron fibres were significant predictors of mesothelioma when considered without adjustment for confounding by amphiboles, but, after adjustment, were weak and far from statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: In this young age group, amosite and crocidolite fibres could account for about 80% of cases of mesothelioma, and tremolite for some 7%. The contribution of chrysotile, because of low biopersistence, cannot be reliably assessed at autopsy, but to the extent that tremolite is a valid marker, our results suggest that it was small. The steep linear trend in odds ratio shown by amphiboles combined indicates that their effects may be additive, with increased risk from the lowest detectable fibre level. Non-asbestos mineral fibres probably made no contribution to this disease. Contrary to expectation, however, some 90% of cases were in men who had started work before 1970; this was so whether or not amosite or crocidolite was found in lung tissue. PMID: [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

7 7 1: Schweiz Med Wochenschr Mar 11;125(10): Related Articles, Links [Asbestos: past, present and future] [Article in German] Seaton A. Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Schottland. Owing to its particular properties asbestos has been widely used for the production of insulating material, for fire proofing, and for strengthening to other materials such as cements and plastics, and thus the story of this mineral was one of progressive commercial success until the middle of this century. However, serious health hazards were realized early: around the turn of the century a progressive form of diffuse fibrosis (asbestosis) in asbestos workers was observed and in 1950 an excess risk of lung cancer, while in 1960 the causal relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma were confirmed. In view of the known potential risks of asbestos and its widespread use in the building industry, more recently asbestos has caused considerable public concern and anxiety. Based on numerous experimental and epidemiological observations, present knowledge of the pathogenic effects of asbestos is sufficient for a number of broad conclusions to be drawn. (1) The amphibole types of asbestos are too dangerous for use as industrial material, and should be banned. (2) Chrysotile can probably be used safely if there is strict control of the workers' dust exposure. (3) It is very unlikely that the general public is at any measurable risk from asbestos in buildings. Exceptions are people working regularly on maintenance tasks involving removing or cutting of asbestos in buildings; such people are properly classified as asbestos workers and should be protected accordingly.(abstract TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID: [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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