Research Finds Ship Demolition Raises Mesothelioma Risk, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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Taiwanese scientists say people who work in shipbreaking, the dismantling of decommissioned ships, are more likely to die of mesothelioma or another asbestos disease.

Shipbreaking and Mesothelioma Risk

Asbestos-related diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, were seen in excess in these shipbreaking workers...

Cancer researchers in Taiwan found that shipbreaking workers are more likely to develop a range of cancers, including cancers of the mouth and throat and lung-related cancers like mesothelioma. An article on the new research has just been posted on the Surviving Mesothelioma website and can be read by clicking here.

Public health and environmental experts from universities across Taiwan analyzed cancer incidence among more than 4,000 shipbreaking workers over a 24-year period.

According to study author Dr. Wei-Te Wu of the National Health Research Institutes, “Asbestos-related diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, were seen in excess in these shipbreaking workers and some cases appeared to have a dose-dependent relationship.”

The study is one of the few to evaluate the risk of mesothelioma and other cancers in shipbreaking workers over several decades. It was published in the journal Environmental Research.

“This is just another reminder that ships are dangerous places to work,” says Surviving Mesothelioma’s Managing Editor Alex Strauss. “Mesothelioma has long threatened the lives of people who built or worked on ships. Now, it seems likely that the next wave of mesothelioma in ship workers will be among those who are taking apart these same vessels.”

The Taiwanese study found that mesothelioma tended to be more common among workers who worked as flame cutters. To read more on the shipbreaking study, including the breakdown of mesothelioma and other cancers, see Mesothelioma Remains a Serious Risk for Shipbreaking Workers, available now on the Surviving Mesothelioma website.

Wu, WT et al, “Cancer incidence of Taiwanese shipbreaking workers who have been potentially exposed to asbestos”, May 14, 2014, Environmental Research, Epub ahead of print,

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

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