RR805 - The Great Britain Asbestos Survey 1971-2005
Mortality of workers listed on the Great Britain Asbestosis or Mesothelioma Registers
The aim of the report was to describe the frequency of asbestosis and mesothelioma among participants of the GB Asbestos Survey, and to identify factors associated with the risk of death with these diseases.
Among the 98,912 survey participants included in the analysis, there were 15,557 deaths between 1971 and 2005. Altogether 477 asbestosis and 649 mesothelioma deaths were identified on the Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Registers respectively. The underlying cause of death was asbestosis for 116 (24%) of the asbestosis cases, and mesothelioma for 398 (64%) of the mesothelioma cases on the registers.
- The asbestos workers had significantly higher mortality than the GB population; the standardised mortality ratio for all causes of death was 142 (95% CI 139-144).
- The risk of asbestosis or mesothelioma was lower in later birth cohorts.
- Asbestosis deaths peaked in the 1980s, while deaths with mesothelioma were higher during the 1990s
- and 2000-2005.
- The risk of asbestosis and mesothelioma increased with increasing duration of exposure, reaching a peak at 30-39 years' exposure.
- The highest risk of asbestosis was observed 50 or more years after first occupational exposure to asbestos, and for mesothelioma 40-59 years after first exposure.
- Insulation workers, followed by stripping/removal workers, had the highest risk of asbestosis and mesothelioma, and manufacturing workers had the lowest risk. 'Other' exposed workers had intermediate levels of risk.
The GB Asbestos Survey should continue to monitor the health of the asbestos workers, in order to confirm whether the occurrence of asbestos-related diseases has decreased following the implementation of regulations to control occupational exposure to asbestos.
This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.
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