Deadly Impact of Asbestos: Over 90 Thousand Deaths Each Year

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PROGRES.ID – The mortality rate due to asbestosis worldwide is alarmingly high. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 90,000 lives are lost each year due to asbestosis. Research conducted by Dominico Franco Merlo and his colleagues, involving 3,984 shipyard workers employed in Genoa, Italy, from 1960 to 1981, with follow-up until December 2014, revealed staggering death figures. A total of 3,331 (83.6%) deaths were attributed to asbestos-related diseases.

Excessive deaths were observed across various disease types, including all cancers (Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMR) = 127), pleural mesothelioma (575), laryngeal cancer (183), lung cancer (154), and respiratory tract diseases (127), including asbestosis (2,277). Out of 399 lung cancer deaths, 90 of them (22.6%) were linked to asbestos exposure.

A study published in 2017 estimated that approximately 237,000 lives are lost annually due to asbestos exposure worldwide. In 2016, a study from 2018 reported that 39,275 people in the United States and 222,321 people worldwide died from asbestos-related diseases.

Epidemiology of asbestosis is a serious issue both globally and nationally, with a high mortality rate attributed to progressive lung fibrosis and various other lung diseases associated with asbestos exposure.

According to global asbestosis epidemiology data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at their workplaces each year. In 2017, asbestosis accounted for 15.7% (9,400 cases) of total pneumoconiosis cases worldwide, exceeding 80% in some countries like Denmark (87.9%) and Malta (87.7%).

The proportion of asbestosis cases has increased significantly, with a rise of 31.7% in Australia, 20.0% in North America, and 16.8% in Western Europe. In Italy, it was reported that there were 17,220 cases of asbestosis between 2001 and 2015 (an average of 1,148 cases per year).

In Indonesia, epidemiological data on asbestosis is limited. However, a study conducted by Anna Suraya and her team at the National Respiratory Hospital in Jakarta from May 2018 to August 2019 identified 336 cases of asbestosis. This underscores that the danger of asbestos is also a serious issue in Indonesia and warrants significant attention.

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