Asbestos Exposure Linked to Cardiovascular Death

Occupational exposure increases cerebrovascular, ischemic heart disease mortality for men, women

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Occupational exposure to asbestos is associated with a higher risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online April 2 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Anne-Helen Harding, Ph.D., from the Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton, U.K., and colleagues analyzed death from cardiovascular disease among 98,912 workers who had been occupationally exposed to asbestos.

After a median follow-up of 19 years, the researchers found that there were 15,557 deaths from any cause, of which 1,053 were from cerebrovascular disease and 4,185 were from ischemic heart disease. Compared with the general population, asbestos workers had significantly higher mortality from cerebrovascular disease (standardized mortality ratio [SMR], 1.63 for men and 2.04 for women) and ischemic heart disease (SMR, 1.39 for men and 1.89 for women), even after taking smoking into account. For both causes, the risks were associated with job type and year of birth, and for ischemic heart disease, duration of exposure was also significantly associated with risk.

"The findings from this study provide some evidence of an association between occupational exposure to asbestos and cardiovascular disease mortality in these workers," Harding and colleagues conclude.

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