Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1975;1(2):128-137    pdf


The epidermiologic relationship between pleural mesothelioma and asbestos exposure.

by Nurminen M

This paper describes an investigation of 85 notifications of either probable or possible mesothelioma to the Finnish Cancer Registry from 1953 through 1969. The investigation covers characteristic epidemiologic features and the possibility of the mesothelioma being connected with occupational or other exposure to asbestos. The incidence rate of pleural mesothelioma was estimated at 1.1 per million per year. The male/female ratio was 1.3:1, which greatly differed fsrom that for malignant neoplasms of the bronchus or lung in Finland in 1960. The mean age at dealth from mesothelioma was over 7 years lower than that for bronchial carcinoma. The ratio of the crude incidence rates for the urban and rural populations was 4.2; the corresponding ratio for cases of carcinoma oopulations was 4.2; the corresponding ratio for cases of carcinoma of the bronchus or lung was 1.2 in Finland in 1960. The last occupations of the 82 deceased persons, obtained from the death certificates, were divided into three categories according to possible asbestos exposure. Exposure was present or probable in 9 (11.0) cases, 28 (34.2%) had a possible exposure, and in 33 (40.2%) cases exposure was absent or unlikely. The occupation of 12 (14.6) persons was unknown. Additional information of possible exposure history was obtained by interviewing the relatives of 10 mesothelioma patients. For half of the persons a definite, although in some cases trivial, exposure to asbestos could be ascertained. For the other five persons no exposure, either occupational, neighborhood or domestic, to asbestos could be traced. The residental distribution of the 85 persons with mesothelioma revealed no clustering of cases.