Ambient asbestos poses no extra risk in urban areas

8 Sep 2017 by under Research/Treatment

Chrysotile SEM photo 1 100x100 Ambient asbestos poses no extra risk in urban areasIt wouldn’t be farfetched to assume that cities have more ambient floating in the air — than rural places. After all, cities are home to more buildings that have the potential to contain the human carcinogen. But does that necessarily lead to more city dwellers contracting an related disease?

A new study by researchers at Cardno ChemRisk says no. The researchers found those who live in cities were no more likely to contract malignant , which can affect the lining of the heart, lungs  or abdomen, than those living in rural areas. According to Surviving , the study results come even as ambient asbestos is known to be 10 times higher in urban areas.

Asbestos was once used in a variety of construction and manufacturing processes for its flexibility and heat resistance. Though it is considered less hazardous when left undisturbed, asbestos fibers can become airborne when tampered with, increasing the possibility of becoming inhaled or ingested by those in the vicinity. Those fibers can then become lodged in internal tissues and cause inflammation that can eventually lead to cellular changes and cancers. Historically, this has occurred to men at work.

In order to determine ambient asbestos’ effects, researchers decided to focus on women since they are usually less likely to contract an asbestos-related disease at work. They then used government data to compare malignant pleural mesothelioma rates for people in rural and urban areas to reach their conclusion: “The results suggest that differences in ambient asbestos concentrations, which have been reported to be 10-fold or greater across regions in the United States, have not influenced the risk of pleural mesothelioma.”


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