A new study published by the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health
Perspectives estimates the global magnitude of reported and unreported
According to the study, it conservatively estimates that, globally, one
mesothelioma case has been overlooked for every four to five reported
cases. In particular, many developing countries, including some with a
high cumulative use of asbestos, do not report mesothelioma. Russia, Kazakhstan,
China, and India all rank in the top 15 countries for cumulative use of
asbestos. Under diagnosing and/or underreporting may have occurred in
these countries due to lack of awareness, knowledge and resources.
This study is the first to postulate a global estimate of “missed”
mesothelioma cases based on the collective experience of countries with
available data on asbestos use and the disease. Given that their estimation
is based on asbestos use until 1970 and because many countries have increased
asbestos use since then, those countries should anticipate a higher disease
burden in the immediate decades ahead.
Since mesothelioma can be prevented by eliminating exposure to asbestos,
the authors of the study propose that every country ban the mining, use,
and export of asbestos on grounds of public health. They also propose
that developed countries share experience and technology to enable developing
countries to better diagnose, report, and manage mesothelioma cases.