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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

New Paper on Asbestos and Heart Disease

Yesterday, many of the "mesothelioma news" sites issued a "story" on a new British paper on heart disease and asbestos. The abstract is below, and the paper can be purchased here.

"Occup Environ Med doi:10.1136/oemed-2011-100313

Original article

Cardiovascular disease mortality among British asbestos workers (1971–2005)

Anne-Helen Harding1, Andrew Darnton2, John Osman2

+ Author Affiliations

1Mathematical Sciences Unit, Health and Safety Laboratory, Buxton, Derbyshire, UK

2Health and Safety Executive, Bootle, Merseyside, UK

Correspondence to

Dr Anne-Helen Harding, Mathematical Sciences Unit, Health and Safety Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 9JN, UK;

Contributors A-HH undertook the data analysis; A-HH, AD and JO jointly drafted the manuscript.

Accepted 6 February 2012

Published Online First 2 April 2012


Objectives: Asbestos is an inflammatory agent, and there is evidence that inflammatory processes are involved in the development of cardiovascular disease. Whether asbestos is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease has not been established. The objective of this study was to investigate cardiovascular disease mortality in a large cohort of workers occupationally exposed to asbestos.

Methods: Cardiovascular disease mortality in a cohort of 98 912 asbestos workers, with median follow-up of 19 years, was analysed. Unadjusted and smoking-adjusted standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated. The association between indicators of asbestos exposure and mortality was analysed with Poisson regression models, for deaths occurring during the period 1971–2005.

Results: Altogether 15 557 deaths from all causes, 1053 deaths from cerebrovascular disease and 4185 deaths from ischaemic heart disease (IHD) occurred during follow-up. There was statistically significant excess mortality from cerebrovascular disease (SMR: men 1.63, women 2.04) and IHD (SMR: men 1.39, women 1.89). Job and birth cohort were associated with the risk of cerebrovascular and IHD mortality in the Poisson regression model including sex, age, smoking status, job, cohort and duration of exposure. For IHD only, duration of exposure was also statistically significant in this model.

Conclusions: Cerebrovascular and IHD mortality was significantly higher among these asbestos workers than in the general population and within the cohort mortality was associated with indicators of asbestos exposure. These findings provide some evidence that occupational exposure to asbestos was associated with cardiovascular disease mortality in this group of workers."

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