A recent study by Dutch pulmonologists Dr. Paul Baas and Dr. JA Burgers of AVL/NKI Cancer Center in Amsterdam looked at over 58,000 Dutch construction workers from 1986 to 2007, who were likely to have been exposed to asbestos due to the nature of the projects they had worked on.
The study confirmed what other research already highlights, that the risk of lung cancer, laryngeal cancer and mesothelioma is increased as the exposure to asbestos is increased. This risk was increased further if an individual smoked, as the researchers stated, “The risk of development of lung cancer was higher for anyone with increased years of exposure to asbestos fibre combined with a smoking habit”. The link between contracting an asbestos related disease and smoking was evident when it came to mesothelioma as well, as the risk of contracting the disease is higher amongst people who smoke, even after short-term asbestos exposure. It’s important to note that smoking alone is not linked to mesothelioma, but if someone who smokes is exposed to asbestos, the risk of contracting the disease can be as much as doubled.
Worryingly, the study concluded that even low levels of exposure to asbestos could be enough to trigger an asbestos related disease, “Asbestos levels encountered at the lower end of the exposure distribution may be associated with an increased risk of pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, and laryngeal cancer”.
There were some positives in the report though, as it concluded that the occasional exposure to asbestos poses hardly any risk for the general population i.e. those not working in construction. However, the report also stated that asbestos exposure is a serious health risk and emphasised that rules and regulations for the removal of asbestos materials were vital, not just in an industrial or commercial setting, but also for homeowners undertaking their own renovation projects.
If you’re concerned about asbestos related diseases and would like to find out if you can make a claim, speak to one of our solicitors today on 0800 163 622.
For more information, please read our paper on asbestos related disease.