Quebec Standard Asbestos Testing Machine - Rosato (C) InspectApediaHistoric & Current Asbestos Mesothiloma Death Rates
History of the Asbestos Health & Safety 1950 - Present, Production & Use of Asbestos

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Asbestos health issues ca 1959 and 2017:

Forming part of the history of the mining, production & use of asbestos world-wide, this article quotes from a popular text giving an indication of how asbestos-related health issues were viewed in the 1950's.

The author recognizes asbestosis as a special type of silicosis. He expresses the viewpoint (for the 1950's era) of the level of risk from asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma was not on the horizon in the original author's (Rosato 1959) view.

This articles series about the manufacture & use of asbestos-containing products includes detailed information on the production methods, asbestos content, and the identity and use of asbestos-containing materials.

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Asbestos Health & Safety Status - current CDC Mesothelioma Death Rates in the U.S.

Currently (2017) one of the most-reliable sources for statistics on United States mortality rates from malignant mesothelioma is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control or the CDC. Here are excerpts from a weekly report from the US CDC, for which we provide the full document below in PDF format.

To characterize mortality attributed to mesothelioma, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed annual multiple-cause-of-death records for 1999--2005, the most recent years for which complete data are available.*

For those years, a total of 18,068 deaths of persons with malignant mesothelioma were reported, increasing from 2,482 deaths in 1999 to 2,704 in 2005, but the annual death rate was stable (14.1 per million in 1999 and 14.0 in 2005).

Maintenance, renovation, or demolition activities that might disturb asbestos should be performed with precautions that sufficiently prevent exposures for workers and the public. In addition, physicians should document the occupational history of all suspected and confirmed mesothelioma cases.

Asbestos was used in a wide variety of construction and manufacturing applications through most of the 20th century. In the United States, asbestos use peaked at 803,000 metric tons in 1973 and then declined to approximately 1,700 metric tons in 2007 (Figure 1) (3).


From 1999 to 2005, the total number of malignant mesothelioma deaths increased 8.9%, from 2,482 in 1999 to 2,704 in 2005, but the annual death rate was stable (14.1 per million population in 1999 versus 14.0 in 2005).

The death rate for males was 4.5 times that for females (23.2 versus 5.1 per million).

During 1999--2005, the state death rate was greater than the national rate (13.8 per million population per year) in 26 states; in six states the rate exceeded 20 per million per year (Figure 2): Maine (173 deaths; rate: 27.5), Wyoming (50; 22.2), West Virginia (182; 21.0), Pennsylvania (1,210; 20.8), New Jersey (814; 20.2), and Washington (558; 20.1).

Reported by: KM Bang, PhD, JM Mazurek, MD, E Storey, MD, MD Attfield, PhD, PL Schleiff, MS, JM Wood, MS, Div of Respiratory Disease Studies, JT Wassell, PhD, Div of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC.

- U.S. CDC (2009) cited below.

Convert Mesothelioma Death Rate to Acutal Number of Mesothelioma-related Deaths Per Year

For simplicity and not exactly correctly, using the current (2017) U.S. Population and the latest mesothelioma cancer death rates that would include mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure (principally but possibly mesothelioma from other causes as well), we can calculate the number of U.S. deaths per year from asbestos-caused mesothelioma at a maximum possible number of

Death Rate DR = Population in Millions x Death Rate per Million People

DR = 323 x 14.1

Current DR (mesothelioma U.S.) = 4,522 deaths per year


U.S. Asbestos-Mesothelioma Death Rate Research

Asbestos Health and Safety Factors [in 1959]

Asbestos long fibers (C) Daniel Friedman - RosatoThe following text, quoted from Rosato (1959) [1] gives a view of how the material and industry were viewed at that time.

A review of the entire ASBESTOS ORIGIN & NATURE article series that reprints Rosato's original 1959 text includes many industry photographs showing workers handling raw asbestos ore or products, often with only eye protection.

Our page top image and the photo at left both illustrate unprotected handling of raw asbestos ore fibers.

[Click to enlarge any image]

With the development of the asbestos industry, contamination of the air by small asbestos fiber particles produced health problems.

Hygienic measures were not well advanced when the first mining operations were developed. Inasmuch as the dry processing method is used in mining and milling asbestos, small fiber particles are picked up by air currents and distributed throughout the manufacturing plants and in he neighborhoods.

The asbestos particles or dust winch developed could become harmful to the people who were constantly exposed to it.

Asbestosis is a special type of silicosis; however, it does not occur as often as silicosis. Approximately 10 years is required for a person to develop asbestosis if he is constantly exposed to the dust. However, since protective measures are provided by the manufacturing plants, it is extremely rare that a person develops asbestosis.

Chemical analysis can be made of dust in order to determine concentration of asbestos dust particles. Information is available on the maximum concentration that can exist without creating a health problem. Such varied safety measures are available as well ventilated areas, special masks, and water sprinkler systems. Proper filtration devices for collecting dust particles are available.


Continue reading at ASBESTOS PRODUCTS 1959 or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Or see ASBESTOS, ITS INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS, ROSATO 1959 - preface and links to full text

Or see these

Current Asbestos Safety Regulations

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