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Lilis R
Occupational respiratory diseases. Merchant JA, Bochlecke BA, Taylor G, eds. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-102, 1986 Sep; :671-687
The epidemiology and etiology of mesothelioma are reviewed. The definition of pleural mesothelioma included the origin of the tumor in the mesothelial cells, the diffuse but rapid character of tumor growth, and the high degree of malignancy. Asbestos fiber is the causative agent in the majority of mesothelioma cases. Studies have demonstrated that relatively low levels of asbestos are carcinogenic and that a long latency period with a mean of 40 years between initial asbestos exposure and the development of the tumor exists. The possibility of naturally occurring zeolites as causative agents is discussed. Occupations and industries at risk for mesothelioma included all of those listed for asbestosis. Populations at risk include workers identified as being at risk for asbestosis, family members of those workers, and persons residing within one mile of an asbestos plant, shipyard, or other asbestos contaminating source. Cases of pleural mesothelioma progressed rapidly with total disability. The condition is usually fatal within two years. Diagnostic criteria include a history of asbestos exposure, a long latency period, unilateral chest pain, a significant increase in dyspnea over a period of weeks or months, pleural effusion and related radiographic abnormalities, and pleural biopsy confirmation. The prevention of the disease depends on the reduction of asbestos exposure to the minimum possible level. The lowest concentration at which asbestos fibers can be reliably identified by phase contrast microscopy is 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter.
Carcinogenesis; Dust-inhalation; Fibrous-dusts; Asbestos-dust; Pleural-cavity; Tumors; Histopathology; Epidemiology; Pulmonary-system-disorders
Publication Date
Document Type
Merchant JA; Bochlecke BA; Taylor G
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Occupational respiratory diseases
Page last reviewed: February 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division