A major international study has revealed a new asbestos-related health threat, and says asbestos can be found in carpet and other materials in homes.
A study published in the journal Lancet says the health risks of asbestos exposure to the environment have been “incredibly underestimated” by most people.
“We have a lot of anecdotal evidence, and there’s no evidence that this has been shown to be true in the medical literature,” Professor Michael Pappas, the lead author of the study, told The Irish Star.
“I think the biggest thing is the fact that people aren’t taking this seriously, and it’s a problem that has been overlooked.”
This is a problem we need to be addressing.
“The study, led by Professor Pappatras team, looked at 2,400 people in Ireland, from all walks of life, and found that asbestos in carpet, furniture and other household materials was associated with a 10 per cent increase in the risk of developing lung cancer and a 17 per cent increased risk of death.”
There is evidence that asbestos can cause lung cancer, and this is particularly so for those living in older populations,” he said.”
They tend to be the older people who have been exposed to asbestos long before they were working in the factory, and in fact, people with a lung condition have been linked to an increased risk.
“The paper, published by the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, was carried out by the Australian Research Council, which was funded by the Department of Health.”
The risk of lung cancer was found to increase by about 11 per cent among those who had asbestos exposure, compared to those who were not,” Professor Pattas said.
A total of 905 people were included in the study.”
If you had an asbestos exposure of about 25 years, and then the other people in your household have a lung problem, you would expect to see an increased lung cancer risk, but that wasn’t the case,” he added.”
It is possible that asbestos was the cause, but it was not the only cause.
“Our findings suggest that the other potential sources of asbestos, such as carpet or other materials, may also be a problem.”
The research found that the health problems associated with asbestos exposure were more prevalent among people of working age, who tend to have higher levels of asbestos-causing compounds in their body.
“Some of the most significant findings from the study were related to those aged 65 years or older, and the risk was significantly higher among those living with lung disease,” Professor Livia Boulger, an associate professor in the department of microbiology at the University’s School in Australia, said.
The paper also showed that the increased risk was highest for people who had an underlying lung disease, as compared to people with no underlying lung conditions.
“Overall, the study suggests that the exposure to asbestos is a strong risk factor for lung cancer,” Professor Boulgers said.
In the paper, the researchers found that in people exposed to the highest level of asbestos in the house, there was a higher risk of having a lung cancer.
“For those who lived in the most vulnerable populations, like those with lung conditions, asbestos exposure is associated with an increased overall risk of cancer, especially among those of working-age age,” Professor Rufus O’Keefe, the co-author of the paper and an associate researcher at the Australian National University’s Centre for Environmental Health, said in a statement.
“In other words, exposure to an asbestos-containing building material is a very real and significant risk factor that may increase the risk for lung cancers.”
A similar study led by Australian researchers found a similar relationship, but the findings were different.
The researchers, led from the University in Adelaide, found a 10-fold increase in lung cancer in people who were exposed to an estimated 20 times the Australian asbestos standards.
“That means that for every 100 exposures to asbestos, a person is exposed to a 10 percent increased risk,” Dr Michael Hargreaves, an assistant professor in medical epidemiology at the university’s Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health and Medicine, said when the study was published.
“A significant proportion of people with lung cancer are those with very low asbestos exposure.
We believe that this is because asbestos is such a highly toxic substance, and its use in the manufacture of carpets has led to the development of asbestos resistant fibres that may protect people from the asbestos fibres.”
The Australian asbestos industry has said the new research is an overreaction, and has called on the Australian Government to review its asbestos regulations.
The Australian Government said it has yet to make any changes to its asbestos guidelines, despite the report.
“Asbestos safety remains one of our most significant priorities for the Commonwealth, and we have always encouraged industry to adopt reasonable asbestos guidelines and to work with industry to ensure they are complied with,” a spokeswoman said.