A new study finds asbestos is not the problem
AUSTRALIA’S leading health body says a report into the health effects of asbestos exposure is premature and does not provide conclusive evidence that asbestos is the cause of a range of cancers.
Key points:The study said the evidence did not prove that asbestos caused cancer”The report does not consider the possibility of other potential health problems associated with exposure to asbestos”The new report also does not identify the source of asbestos” The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said it is critical the Australian Government fully engages with the international community on the risks of asbestos.
Key Points:The Australian Institute for Health and Benefit said it was critical the Government fully engaged with the International Community on the risk of asbestosThe study found asbestos is unlikely to cause cancer in people with asbestos-related conditions”The findings from the asbestos-associated cancers, particularly in women, is not in line with the findings of previous studies”The current study found there was no evidence that exposure to non-Auspex asbestos-derived materials, including fibreboard and asbestos board, increased the risk for asbestos-induced cancers in people, including women.”
The results from the current study did not indicate that asbestos-containing materials, such as fibreboard, increased cancer risk,” the report said.”
Furthermore, the data did not demonstrate that exposure increased the likelihood of developing lung cancer or other types of cancer in women with asbestos related conditions.
“The report said it had “high confidence” that asbestos was not the cause for any of the cancers.
The Australian Cancer Council (ACCC) has said the study, published on Tuesday, did not consider whether there was a link between asbestos exposure and any other cancers.”
These findings do not support the hypothesis that asbestos exposure causes cancer, nor does the current findings indicate that any other cancer risk associated with asbestos is attributable to asbestos,” the group’s director of research, Dr Peter Dutton, said.
Dr Dutton said the ACCC did not see the new research as conclusive, adding there was “some uncertainty” around the results.”
What we are really seeing here is the first step of what we believe will be a rigorous investigation into this, a rigorous review of the evidence,” Dr Dutton told AM.”
It is not yet clear what the findings are, and what the final conclusions are.
“We believe that this will be of major public health significance, but there are some uncertainties.”‘
No conclusive evidence’ on asbestos link to cancerThe report found the evidence on asbestos did not show that the cancer risk from asbestos was associated with any other conditions.
It said “a lack of conclusive evidence” was the most significant limitation of the study.
“This is a very important finding,” Dr Peter Breen, the report’s lead author and the director of the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, told AAP.
“There are no epidemiological studies that have looked at the relationship between asbestos and cancer, so this finding is a significant finding.”
“The evidence suggests that exposure is unlikely in people exposed to asbestos-generated fibres.”‘
High confidence’ in the findingsDr Denton said there was still “significant uncertainty” over whether asbestos caused any cancer.
“To say that it is an independent finding that it does not show a link is a bit like saying ‘well you can’t have a heart attack and have a stroke’,” he said.”[This] is a finding that is high confidence, but it does have some uncertainty around it.”
So we have to wait for the evidence to be robust in terms of confirming that.
“Dr Breen said the results would be a “critical point” in public health policy.”
You need to look at the evidence and ask ‘does this mean we should be worried about this?'” he said, adding that the research was being “very carefully considered” by the Australian and international community.”
But we will see the results in the next few weeks, and we will know more about the results of this study.