Literature Review 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Two academic papers which were recently published focused on developments in South Korea. Transfer of Occupational Health Problems from a Developed to a Developing Country: Lessons from the Japan–South Korea Experience by Jungsun Park, Naomi Hisanaga and Yangho Kim was published online in June 2009 by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.1 The authors concluded that:

“counter-measures are needed to prevent the transfer of occupational health problems from a developed to a developing country. Corporate social responsibility should be emphasized, close inter-governmental collaboration is necessary and cooperation among non-governmental organizations is helpful.”

Overview of Asbestos Issues in Korea by Hyoung Ryoul Kim, also published online in June 2009, contrasts the regulations, routes of exposures and relevant compensation sources available to victims of occupational and environmental asbestos exposures in Korea. He concludes that “comprehensive compensation should be made through an asbestos victim law, which is currently being discussed.” 2 While the improvement of risk communication was necessary to raise asbestos awareness:

“building infrastructure for asbestos-related studies, drawing up [a] plan to compensate asbestos victims and laying out [an] environment management plan to minimize asbestos exposure are the most urgent problems to solve at this point in time.”


Population-based asbestosis surveillance in British Columbia by Wenqi Gan, Paul Demers et al was published online on June 14, 2009.3 Having investigated multiple sources of information, including provincial health insurance records, workers' compensation records, hospital separation records and outpatient medical service records, researchers identified a total of 1170 new cases of asbestosis from 1992 to 2004. They concluded that:

“Single data sources were not sufficient in identifying all new cases and thus led to serious underestimation of the true burden of asbestosis. Integrating multiple health data sources will provide a more complete picture in population-based surveillance of asbestosis and other occupational diseases.”

Mortality from cancer and other causes in the Balangero cohort of chrysotile asbestos miners by Enrico Pira, Claudio Pelucchi et al was published online on July 29, 2009.4 Having updated analyses conducted up to the end of 2003, the authors found: “a significant excess mortality from pleural cancer only… All pleural and peritoneal cancer deaths occurred 30 or more years after first exposure.”

Clinical Presentation of Asbestosis with Intractable Pleural Pain in the Adult Child of a Taconite Miner and Radiographic Demonstration of the Probable Pathology Causing the Pain by Michael Harbut, Carmen Endress et al validated what many pleural plaques sufferers have been reporting for years: pleural plaques are not a symptomless condition. The researchers, using new imaging techniques which enhance high-resolution computerized tomography, demonstrated “at least one likely mechanism for intractable pleural pain” in an asbestosis patient.5 As an adjunct to this research, Dr. Harbut's team announced on July 20, 2009, that using the new techniques, they had discovered that:

“an increase in pleural plaque, a build-up of collagen fibers in the diaphragm or ribcage, is a probable reason for the unrelenting chest pain experienced in certain patients with asbestos-related diseases and cancers.”6


August 15, 2009






5 Harbut M, Endress C, et al. Clinical Presentation of Asbestosis with Intractable Pleural Pain in the Adult Child of a Taconite Miner and Radiographic Demonstration of the Probable Pathology Causing the Pain. Int J Occup Environ Health 2009;15:269-273.

6 Walter L. Scientists Discover Possible Origin of Asbestos-Related Pain. July 20, 2009.



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