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Asbestos Building Products Expected to Cause Thousands of Korean Mesothelioma Deaths

25175619_worker3Asbestos containing products are expected to claim the lives of as many as 3,400 people from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in Korea by 2036.

The predicted mesothelioma deaths are being blamed on building components or “slates” made of cement and chrysotile asbestos that were used to construct thousands of homes and buildings in Korea.

Predicting Mesothelioma Mortality from Asbestos Containing Products

Researchers in architecture and statistics at Kyungpook National University in Daegu attempted to estimate the number of expected mesothelioma deaths in the coming years by calculating the amount of asbestos used in Korea and the amount of asbestos used in making concrete slates.

They predict that a maximum of 3,476 people could die of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease by 2036. More than five hundred of those deaths by 2031 will likely be attributable to asbestos-containing products like concrete.

Mesothelioma Death Rates Expected to Rise Despite Asbestos Ban

Although Korea banned the use and importation of asbestos and asbestos-containing products in 2009, the new study predicts that the number of mesothelioma deaths will continue to rise until it peaks in 2021.

The mineral asbestos, once prized for its strength and resistance to heat and corrosion, is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma can be triggered when microscopic shards of asbestos lodge in the lungs and work their way into the pleural lining.

Over time, the continual irritation and inflammation can trigger changes on the cellular level that lead to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.

Responding to Asbestos-Related Disease

Because mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are almost always caused by lack of proper warning, training or protection from asbestos, victims of these illnesses are often entitled to compensation.

Writing in a journal called Science of the Total Environment, the Korean research team predicts that their findings on the link between mesothelioma and asbestos-containing products like cement will have legal and financial repercussions.

These findings are expected to contribute greatly to the Korean government’s policies related to the compensation for asbestos victims,” writes author Su-Young Kim.


Kim, SY et al, “Predicting the mortality from asbestos-related diseases based on the amount of asbestos used and the effects of slate buildings in Korea”, October 26, 2015, Science of the Total Environment, Epub ahead of print

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