Wives at Asbestos Risk
Some Bristol researchers say that wives of men who work with asbestos are at risk of a type of lung cancer through second-hand exposure to the dust.
As a part of their study, the South West Public Health Observatory went through the recorded occupations on the death certificates of women who had died of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, and the occupations of their husbands. It was found that only a few of them had worked in industries where there was a chance of asbestos exposure whereas, the husbands of majority of them had worked with such industries.
"Only one per cent of the women who had died worked in industries with a high risk of exposure to asbestos, while 23 per cent had husbands who were known to have worked in high-risk sectors," said Dr Julia Verne, the director of the South West Public Health Observatory.
The research by the Observatory had suggested a relation between mesothelioma in women and exposure to their husbandsâ€™ asbestos-contaminated work clothes. The finding supports this conclusion.
â€œOur findings support our own and othersâ€™ previously published work, which suggests that contact at home with clothes worn in working environments where there was a risk of exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of developing this disease in family members," said Dr Julia, â€œHowever, it is important to remember that mesothelioma is still an extremely rare disease in women, with just one in 100,000 women dying of the disease per year.Â We now need to take this work further to collect more information on the actual risk of exposure.â€
Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the mesothelium caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Symptoms of this incurable disease are persistent coughing or coughing of blood, chest or abdomen pain, fatigue, and weight loss. These symptoms may not appear for decades after exposure however, it kills more than half of its victims within seven months of diagnosis