Asbestos Exposure and Benign Asbestos Diseases in 772 Formerly Exposed Workers: Dose-Response Relationships

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BackgroundSince previous studies have provided conflicting results, we investigated the relationship between the risk of benign asbestos-related diseases and different aspects of asbestos exposure in previous asbestos workers who underwent low-dose computed tomography (CT).MethodsCT scans were carried out in 772 subjects. A questionnaire was employed to collect data on smoking habits and duration, peak and cumulative exposure, and time since first exposure to asbestos. Multiple logistic regression models with stepwise selection of variables were used to evaluate the associations.ResultsFourteen (1.8%) cases of asbestosis, 187 (24.2%) of pleural plaques (PP), and 50 (6.5%) of diffuse pleural thickening (DPT) were found. The significant risk factors were: cumulative exposure for asbestosis (P for trend=0.004); time since first exposure (P for trend <0.001), and peak exposure (P for trend <0.001) for PP; and time since first exposure for DPT (P for trend=0.024).ConclusionsParenchymal asbestosis and PP are associated with different aspects of asbestos exposure. DPT appears to be less specific for asbestos exposure. Am. J. Ind. Med. 52:596-602, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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