Risk of Mesothelioma in Shipyard Workers: Study on Lung Fiber Burden

Risk of Mesothelioma in Shipyard Workers: Study on Lung Fiber Burden

Recently, researchers studied the lung fiber burden and mesothelioma risk in shipyard workers. They focused on those from the Monfalcone shipyard in Italy.

The study aimed to understand how asbestos fibers affect the development of mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers are common in shipbuilding materials. Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer.

Mesothelioma Risk Factors

Italian researchers conducted a study. They compared workers who had died from mesothelioma to those who had died from lung cancer. They analyzed the lung fiber content of these people. They used a scanning electron microscope with X-ray fluorescence. They followed guidelines from the European Respiratory Society. They also collected complete job histories to assess asbestos exposure.

The results showed a strong link. It was between the amount of lung fibers and the risk of mesothelioma. Workers with the most lung fiber had a much higher risk of developing mesothelioma. This was compared to those with lower fiber levels. The odds ratio for the highest lung fiber burden category was 22.0 compared to the reference group. Also, for every 10-fold increase in lung fiber burden, the odds ratio for mesothelioma was 3.71.

The study also found that the risk of mesothelioma rose with higher levels of amphibole and chrysotile lung fiber burden. The odds ratios for both types of fibers were significant. They show a strong link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma risk. The exposure index is based on job histories. It was linked with total and amphibole fiber burden. But, it was not linked with chrysotile fiber burden.

The findings suggest that asbestos exposure raises the risk of mesothelioma in shipyard workers. This is especially true for exposure to amphibole and chrysotile fibers. They are found in shipbuilding materials. The results show that it is important to limit asbestos exposure at work. This is to prevent mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.


Mirabelli, Dario, Anna Benedetta Somigliana, Danila Azzolina, Dario Consonni, and Pietro Gino Barbieri. “Lung Fibre Burden and Risk of Malignant Mesothelioma in Shipyard Workers: A Necropsy-Based Case-Control Study.” Annals of Work Exposures and Health, March 26, 2024, wxae018. https://doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxae018.



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