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Staggering Number of Potential Years of Life Lost to Asbestos

20 August 2013

World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show that between 1994 and 2010 128,015 people in 82 countries died of mesothelioma and a further 13,885 people in 55 countries died of asbestosis.

Researchers examined data from the WHO on all deaths linked to mesothelioma and asbestosis reported to them in that 16 year period. They then applied the Potential Years of Life Lost (PYLL) measurement a tool for assessing global disease burden to calculate that a total of 2.18 million potential years of life had been lost as a result of those 2 conditions. On average each person who died of mesothelioma lost 17 potential years of life and those who died of asbestosis lost 13 years.

Death rates from mesothelioma and asbestosis continue to rise so many more potential years of life will be lost.

Mesothelioma and asbestosis are the most prominent conditions which result from exposure to asbestos fibre, but it is also linked to pleural plaques, lung cancer, emphysema, and auto-immune diseases. The dangers of asbestos have been recognised for more than 50 years but still many countries continue to mine and trade in asbestos and use it in various industrial applications. Many homes, schools and public buildings still contain asbestos products which can become a danger to anyone exposed to the material if it is damaged.


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