History of Knowledge of Asbestos Health Hazards as Reported in the Scientific
and Medical Literature
"Asbestos" is a word of Greek derivation, meaning "inextinguishable"
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
First Asbestos Mine opened in Canada
Keasby & Mattison conceives idea of using heat resisting asbestos
fibers as reinforcement agent in 85% magnesia pipe insulation.
Jones reports that in New York, there were "hundreds of buildings
plastered with asbestic." "Asbestos and Asbestic", J. Soc. Arts.
Asbestosis reported in marine fireman, Pancost & Miller, Am. J. Roentgenol.
Cooke reports death of young woman in a British asbestos factory due to
Haddo reports case of asbestosis in person living next door to an asbestos factory.
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).
Great Britain enacts laws to regulate asbestos exposure levels for plant workers.
Encyclopedia Britannica identifies asbestos fibers as a cause of lung cancer.
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).
Ellman reports asbestosis in an insulation worker. Br. J. Radiol.
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.
Holleb and Angrist report two cases of bronchogenic carcinoma associated
with asbestosis. Am. J. Pathol.
Hutchinson warns of asbestos risk in U.S. industrial journal for construction
workers. Heating and Ventilating.
Editorial in Journal of American Medical Association linking asbestos
and lung cancer
Eight (8) cases of asbestosis and lung cancer in insulator by Chief Inspector
Pleural mesothelioma reported in an insulator. New Engl J. Med.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Pleural mesotheliomas reported in long time shipyard workers. McCaughey,
Br. Med. J.