Occupational Asbestos Exposure and Predictable Asbestos-Related Diseases in India

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BackgroundIndia imports nearly 100,000 metric tons of asbestos per year, and small-scale asbestos (chrysotile and tremolite) mining and milling contributes nearly 5%-10% of the total national usage. The industry is relatively young, having started in the 1950s and 1960s.MethodsSurveys of asbestos-exposed workers have identified significant occupational exposures, early pleural and parenchymal changes on chest radiograph, and decrements in lung function.Results and ConclusionsBased on knowledge of past and current exposures to asbestos in industry, we can predict a future occurrence of clinical asbestos-related diseases— pleural changes, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchogenic carcinoma, and diffuse malignant mesothelioma. These cases of asbestos related disease are expected to occur in asbestos exposed workers from mining, milling, and manufacturing as well as in those with secondary exposures to asbestos-containing materials, including construction and maintenance workers, users of asbestos-containing consumer products, and the occupants of asbestos-containing buildings.

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