A new review of asbestos exposure in the United States has found that asbestos is a significant contributor to lung cancer.
Researchers from the University of Washington’s Center for Environmental Health found that more than 4,400 people have died of asbestos-related lung cancer in the past 20 years.
The study was published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
“The findings underscore the importance of screening for asbestos exposure, as well as the importance for the public health community to monitor asbestos-exposed workers, particularly those with chronic diseases such as cancer,” the study’s authors wrote.
“Asbestos exposure is associated with increased risks for developing lung cancer and mortality, especially in older workers,” they continued.
“We find no evidence that asbestos exposure increases lung cancer risk in the general population.”
The study was conducted in a nationally representative survey of workers in industries that produce asbestos, including steel and cement, among other industries.
The authors looked at data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the early 1990s, which found that workers exposed to asbestos were more likely to have lung cancer than the general public.
Previous studies have linked asbestos exposure to a wide range of cancers, including leukemia, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.