A Report on the Health of Asbestos, Quebec Miners 1940 by Morris Greenberg, which was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine 48:230-237 (2005), exposes the bias of doctors, such as Dr. Stevenson, the Company Doctor of the Johns-Manville plant in Asbestos, Canada, whose loyalty remained with the asbestos industry and the government stakeholders which supported it. The paper concludes:
"Under the aegis of WHO, ILO and their agencies, independent international expert consensus has been reached that chrysotile presents an unacceptable public health risk. This has led to the progressive banning of asbestos use in the Developed World, and a shift of chrysotile exports to the Third World. There, Stevenson's spiritual successors continue to deny the hazards of chrysotile, and are advising governments and workers of its health and economic benefits. As late as 2001, the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association felt it appropriate to question: "Should Canadian health care professionals support the call for a worldwide ban on asbestos?" from which one may infer that the Stevenson's spirit of denial has survived in Canada in to the new millennium."
Mesothelioma Mortality in Great Britain from 1968 to 2001 by DM McElvenny, AJ Darnton, MJ Price and JT Hodgson appeared in Occupational Medicine, Vol. 55 No. 2:79-87. Statistical information collected by the British mesothelioma register illustrates the horrific escalation in the incidence of the formerly rare disease of mesothelioma: mortality has increased twelve-fold from 153 in 1968 to 1848 in 2001. Over the period 1981-2000, the areas of West Dunbartonshire, Barrow-in-Furness, Plymouth and Portsmouth had the highest standardized mortality ratios; the occupations with the highest proportional mortality ratios were: metal plate workers, vehicle body builders, plumbers and gas fitters and carpenters. The authors state that:
The incidence of mesothelioma in Great Britain (70.9 per million in men) remains around the highest in the world an examination of trends over time shows that the mesothelioma mortality due to specific high-risk industries of the past has fallen as other sources of exposure have developed over a wider range of occupation groups and geographical areas This reflects our growing understanding of the changing balance of risk away from traditional asbestos exposure industries to those where one could describe the exposure as secondary, such as building maintenance trades.
August 19, 2005