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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
July 1, 2009

Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality—United States, 1999-2005

JAMA. 2009;302(1):25-26. doi:

MMWR. 2009;58:393-396

2 figures, 1 table omitted

Malignant mesothelioma is a fatal cancer primarily associated with exposure to asbestos. The latency period between first exposure to asbestos and clinical disease usually is 20-40 years.1? Although asbestos is no longer mined in the United States, the mineral is still imported, and a substantial amount of asbestos remaining in buildings eventually will be removed, either during remediation or demolition. Currently, an estimated 1.3 million construction and general industry workers potentially are being exposed to asbestos.2 To characterize mortality attributed to mesothelioma, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed annual multiple-cause-of-death records for 1999-2005, the most recent years for which complete data are available.* For those years, a total of 18,068 deaths of persons with malignant mesothelioma were reported, increasing from 2,482 deaths in 1999 to 2,704 in 2005, but the annual death rate was stable (14.1 per million in 1999 and 14.0 in 2005). Maintenance, renovation, or demolition activities that might disturb asbestos should be performed with precautions that sufficiently prevent exposures for workers and the public. In addition, physicians should document the occupational history of all suspected and confirmed mesothelioma cases.

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