Boston Asbestos Workers At Higher Risk of Heart Disease

April 12, 2012

Those who have suffered Boston asbestos exposure have not only increased their risk for mesothelioma, but also heart disease and stroke, according to a new British study. hearttree.jpg

Our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys know that the health risks when one comes into contact with this material are deadly. The problem is it was used in such a wide array of products for so long - even after companies learned of the health risks - that many people even today continue to come into contact with it.

Those who have the greatest exposure risk are workers in the shipbuilding, railroad, automotive and construction industries. However, because it can easily go airborne, exposure is by no means limited to these individuals. Also, the material has been known to have been widely used in schools, public buildings and homes. Those in older structures are particularly at risk.

It's long been known that those who are exposed to asbestos are at increased risk of lung diseases and cancers, including mesothelioma. Generally, the incubation period for these diseases - that is, the time it takes for you to know about it - is between 10 and 40 years.

Now, here's what the British researchers discovered:

They looked at the health histories of nearly 100,000 individuals who worked in the British asbestos industry between the early 1970s and 2005 - more than 20 years. Of those about 15,000 have died.

Of those 15,500 deaths, nearly 4,200 were the result of heart disease and more than 1,000 were from a stroke. This was especially true for women.

For male asbestos workers, it was learned they were more than 40 percent more likely than someone in the general population to die of a stroke. They were also 60 percent more likely to die of heart disease - and this was even when the statistics were controlled for cigarette smoking.

For women who worked with asbestos, those numbers were even more astonishing. They were 100 percent more likely to die of a stroke and 90 percent more likely to die of heart disease.

Keep in mind, male and female workers usually had somewhat different roles in handling the asbestos. The men were usually hired to remove asbestos, while the females had worked in industries that manufactured materials that contained asbestos.

The research was headed by Britain's Health and Safety Laboratory, and the results are spelled out in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The reason why these findings are significant is that doctors had long believed that Boston asbestos exposure was tied to cardiovascular disease. But until now, they never had any solid proof.

This is also the first study that specifically looked at the link between heart disease and asbestos exposure that specifically controlled for smoking. About half the women in the study were in fact smokers.

This is another reason mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are difficult to diagnose - they may masquerade as another disease.

If you are undergoing treatment for a disease you believe may be related to asbestos exposure - particularly mesothelioma - contact an experienced Boston mesothelioma attorney today.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma in New England, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:
Asbestos workers at risk from heart disease, Staff Report, AFP

More Blog Entries:
Daley v. A.W. Chesterton Discusses Remedies for Multiple Diseases Associated with Asbestos Exposure, March 15, 2012, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog