A new study of 4,000 mesothelioma cases in Canada, stretching back over 25 years, has found that as occupational exposure to asbestos has gradually reduced the number of cases arising from exposure outside the workplace has seemed to increase. This is probably because of better detection of what were previously undiagnosed cases, but it highlights the continuing risk which asbestos poses.
Asbestos related diseases are still often linked in the popular imagination with people who did things like construction and insulation work, electrical work, car maintenance, plumbing and pipefitting, and military service. However, an increasing number of people from other walks of life, such as teaching and the caring professions, are also being diagnosed. And the report draws attention to the risks to do-it-yourself enthusiasts from home renovation projects in property beuilt during the Twentieth Century.
Paul Demers, Dirtector of the Ontario Health Cancer Research Centre, says, ‘Exposures from asbestos that’s in buildings where people are living in — that’s gradually escaping into the environment — will become more important over time.’