Recently, new evidence emerged, which suggests a compound found in red wine appears to suppress the development of mesothelioma cancer in affected cells. Notwithstanding, studies claiming that moderate wine drinking may help to protect against heart disease, the causal relationship between exposure to asbestos, cardiovascular function, and the increased risk of heart disease and stroke has also been an area of study by medical researchers attached to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Coroners reporting on deaths from common industrial diseases not infrequently enter remarks that imply that an individual’s specific occupational exposure to asbestos may also be assumed to be attributable to their subsequent fatality. So while, asbestosis diseases or mesothelioma may not be given as a primary cause, a link to asbestos exposure is made. During the peak asbestos usage in UK shipyards years from 1945 to the 1970s, it has been claimed that of the majority who died from conditions like heart disease and stroke, a significant number were also related to asbestos exposure.
Lack of asbestos awareness and protective equipment – and even deliberate withholding of information concerning the long-term fatal health risks – meant the use of asbestos fibres as an inexpensive insulator, fire retardant and anti corrosive was widespread throughout UK manufacturing, engineering, and shipbuilding until a ban was introduced from the mid 1980s. Use of white asbestos continued to be used in the building industry until imports were prohibited in 1999 and legislation introduced in 2005. The HSE-related study, which looked at around 100,000 workers who were employed in asbestos-using industries in the period, 1971 to 2005 was released by the Health and Safety Laboratory in April 2012.
The research revealed found that amongst the male workers, a majority of whom had been employed in the asbestos removal industry, “ …there was a 63 per cent increase in fatalities from strokes and a 39 per cent increase in deaths caused by heart disease”. The figures were substantially higher for females, mostly manufacturing workers, with a 89 per cent increase in mortality from heart disease rising to 100 per cent in stroke-related deaths.
A total of 15,557 deaths were analysed from all causes in the study group of workers throughout the entire research period. Researchers conclude that ‘some’ evidence was provided to show “ occupational exposure to asbestos was associated with cardiovascular disease mortality” in the study group.
The most common mesothelioma cancers are pleural ( lungs) followed by peritoneal ( stomach) and the rarer pericardial (heart) and testicular form. In recent years, an increasing number of medical research professionals have also begun linking asbestos exposure to a wider variety of cancers, including colon, kidney, and gastrointestinal.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimate at least 2,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed every year.