Second-hand mesothelioma for workers’ wives

A group of women whose husbands worked in the Eternit asbestos-cement factory in Casale Monferrato, Italy, were found to be disproportionately at risk for malignant mesothelioma, according to this 2007 study.

Of the 1780 women participating in the study in 1988, only 67% were alive in 2003. Doctors found that the risk of lung cancer was no different, but that the risk of malignant mesothelioma was “significantly increased.”

Dr.s Ferrante, Bertolotti, Todesco, Mirabelli, Terracini, and Magnani came to the conclusion that

Household exposure, as experienced by these AC [asbestos-cement] workers’ wives, increases risk for pleural MM [malignant mesothelioma] but not for lung cancer.

Household exposure affects children, wives, and anyone else in the same house as a person who comes in direct contact with asbestos. If asbestos dust is stuck to the person’s skin, clothes, or hair, another household member can easily inhale that dust.

As the study of the women of Casale Monferrato showed, safe working environments concern every part of a worker’s life–if he (or she) is not adequately protected from asbestos exposure, the lives of those closest to him are endangered along with his own.


February 22, 2011. Tags: , , , . Support Information. 1 comment.