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History Of Medical Knowledge

History of Knowledge of Asbestos Health Hazards as Reported in the Scientific and Medical Literature

"Asbestos" is a word of Greek derivation, meaning "inextinguishable" or "unquenchable".

B.C.
Pliny The Elder, Roman Historian, classifies injuries caused by weaving asbestos as a "disease of slaves." Pliny refers to the use of a transparent bladder skin as a respirator to avoid inhalation of dust by slaves.

1877
First Asbestos Mine opened in Canada

1882
Keasby & Mattison conceives idea of using heat resisting asbestos fibers as reinforcement agent in 85% magnesia pipe insulation.

1897
Jones reports that in New York, there were "hundreds of buildings plastered with asbestic." "Asbestos and Asbestic", J. Soc. Arts.

1918
Asbestosis reported in marine fireman, Pancost & Miller, Am. J. Roentgenol.

1924
Cooke reports death of young woman in a British asbestos factory due to "pulmonary asbestosis."

1929
Haddo reports case of asbestosis in person living next door to an asbestos factory.

1930
Chief Surgeon of U.S. Bureau of Mines reports case of asbestosis in a man who had been exposed to asbestos while doing maintenance work in a government hospital. The maintenance worker received compensation for his asbestosis. Wilcox, Proceedings of Conf. Re Effects of Dusts upon Respir. System. Wisconsin (1932).

1931
Great Britain enacts laws to regulate asbestos exposure levels for plant workers.

1932
Encyclopedia Britannica identifies asbestos fibers as a cause of lung cancer.

1932
Concerns raised about potential for disease among office workers and commuters in buildings and tunnels where sprayed on asbestos materials were present. Lancet and McLaughlin, Lancet (1953).

1934
Ellman reports asbestosis in an insulation worker. Br. J. Radiol.

1935
Lynch and Smith report cases of asbestosis and lung cancer in American Journal of Cancer. As little as 19 months exposure. Gloyne also reports asbestosis-cancer deaths in Tubercle.

1942
Holleb and Angrist report two cases of bronchogenic carcinoma associated with asbestosis. Am. J. Pathol.

1944
Hutchinson warns of asbestos risk in U.S. industrial journal for construction workers. Heating and Ventilating.

1944
Editorial in Journal of American Medical Association linking asbestos and lung cancer

1946
Eight (8) cases of asbestosis and lung cancer in insulator by Chief Inspector of Factories.

1947
Pleural mesothelioma reported in an insulator. New Engl J. Med.

1949
Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories for the Year 1947, Great Britain, reports survey of asbestos related cancer deaths in English asbestos factories. Warns of need for dust control among construction workers.

1951
Stoll, Bass and Angrist report case of lung cancer and asbestosis in insulator and emphasized "the hazards of industrial exposure.... and need for preventive measures." Arch. Int. Med.

1954
Steamfitters, plumbers and pipefitters identified as potentially hazardous trade because of asbestosis and lung cancer in California. Authors suggest further studies. Breslow et al, Am. J. Publ. Health.

1955
Doll reports on Mortality from Lung Cancer in Asbestos Workers. Br. J.Indust. Med. Doll observed 113 factory workers between 1935 and 1953 and reported 39 deaths.

1956
Chief Inspector of Factories in Great Britain calls attention to hazards of asbestos cement work, demolition and with breaking of sacks of asbestos cements. Annual Rept. Of Chf.. Insp. Of Factories.

1962
Pleural mesotheliomas reported in long time shipyard workers. McCaughey, Br. Med. J.

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