The World Health Organization (WHO) has further confirmed the detrimental effects mesothelioma has on the health of citizens not only in the United States, but throughout the world. A recent study, Global Mesothelioma Deaths Reported to the World Health Organization Between 1994 and 2008, showed that cancer deaths due to asbestos exposure are expected to increase in developing countries that continue to use asbestos in the building and transport industries. Dr. Ivan Ivanov, a WHO scientist, stated, “[w]e know the risks. All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic and may cause mesothelioma and cancer of the lung, larynx and ovary, as well as other diseases. Even if these countries [involved in the study] stopped using asbestos today, they are going to see an increase in asbestos related deaths for many decades to come.”

The WHO’s study looked at data on mortality rates over a 15-year window and identified over 92,000 deaths from mesothelioma in a total of 83 countries. The study verified previously reported data, showing that all forms of mesothelioma predominantly affect individuals aged over 70 years. High-income countries accounted for the highest number of deaths due to mesothelioma. For example, the results of the study showed that about 88% of the 92,000 deaths attributed to malignant mesothelioma occurred in older males residing in higher-income countries, such as Australia, Japan, U.S. and several European countries.

The WHO study showed that mesothelioma predominately affects individuals in the developed world, including the United States. However, asbestos use and subsequent exposure has increased in developing countries. This increased asbestos use and exposure in developing countries will undoubtedly lead to more cases of mesothelioma.

The industries (building and transport) that the WHO warns are exposing individuals to asbestos in developing countries are the same industries that have exposed its workers to asbestos here, in the United States. If you have been exposed to asbestos, developed mesothelioma, or would like more information, please call us at 1-800-374-2144 or contact us through email.