In Praise of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (IJOEH) 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



The IJOEH1 has been a valuable resource for students of global asbestos issues for many years. Formerly under the supervision of Professor Joe LaDou and Sandra Lovegrove and now under that of Dr. David Egilman and Susana Rankin Bohme, the journal provides a public space for the presentation of asbestos research projects and the discussion of emerging issues. Dr. Morris Greenberg, whose papers and letters have often been published in its pages, comments:

“The international nature of this journal has been furthered by complete articles uniquely being made available freely over the internet. Equally important, the editors have not had to answer other than to their consciences, and the law. Journals may be subject to their publisher and to the Society under whose aegis they appear. Some of these Learned Societies in the field of occupational and environmental health may be influencedby those members coming from industry: the IJOEH being 'free standing' its editors have not been subject to such external pressures.”

Also grateful for the integrity of the IJOEH is British historian, Dr. Geoffrey Tweedale:

“Writing as someone who has had material accepted by peer-reviewed journals, only to see it suppressed by publishers who were fearful of Britain's ridiculous libel laws, the IJOEH is a godsend. It is speedy, efficient, not afraid to publish the facts, and above all gets the latest information 'out there' in the public domain.”

Highlighting the effectiveness of the journal, Dr. Barry Castleman notes:

“IJOEH has carried important reports and commentaries that led to the implementation of conflict-of-interest rules at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, re-establishing IARC's reputation as the gold standard on cancer evaluations of chemicals. More than any other journal in the field, it has welcomed articles raising concern about corporate influence in occupational and environmental health science and policy. (It is also the only journal that ever asked me to "put more bite" into a paper I had submitted, which I was happy to do.)”

Recent articles which have appeared in its pages include the following:

  • The Defence of Chrysotile, 1912-2007 by Morris Greenberg2
    Contrasting the evolution of knowledge regarding the occupational hazard of asbestos exposure with the growth of the global chrysotile industry, the author pinpoints industry strategies which forestalled attempts to introduce effective protective measures; he condemns the collaboration with industry stakeholders of “physicians and scientists prepared to oppose the consensuses reached by the independent advisers to” bodies such as the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization.
  • Trends in Occupational Asbestos Exposure and Asbestos Consumption over Recent Decades in Korea by Donguk Park, Sangjun Choi, Kyongnam Ryu, et al3
    The levels of asbestos exposure which occurred in various Korean asbestos factories have never been published. An attempt to estimate the exposure levels which persisted from 1995-2006 showed a significant decrease from 0.92 f/cc in 1996 to 0.06 f/cc in 1999. The authors speculate that bans implemented in 1997 on the use of crocidolite and amosite asbestos led to efforts to reduce hazardous exposures especially in industries handling raw fiber.
  • Mesothelioma Mortality in Brazil, 1980-2003 by Francisco Pedra, Anamaria Testa Tambellini, Braganca Pereira et al4
    Asbestos mortality is increasing in Brazil, a country which both mines and processes chrysotile asbestos. From 1996-2003, 2,414 mesothelioma deaths were recorded by the national System of Mortality Information of DATASUS; over this period mortality rates increased from 0.56 to 1.10 deaths per 100,000. The authors conclude that: “Given the history of asbestos exposure in Brazil, our findings support the need for policies that limit or ban the use of this product.”
  • Asbestosis Mortality Surveillance in the United States, 1970-2004 by Ki Moon Bang, Jacek Mazurek, Girija Syamlal, John M. Wood5
    As in other countries, much higher levels of asbestosis are found in American men (10.4) than women (0.3) and asbestosis deaths predominantly, but not exclusively, occur in coastal areas with the most at-risk industries including ship and boat building and repairing. Insulators and boilermakers have the highest proportionate mortality ratios for this disease.

November 3, 2008


1 [Maney are the current (2014) publishers].

2 Vol. 14, No 1 (2008)

3 ibid

4 Vol. 14, No 3 (2008)

5 ibid



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