Lung cancer and mesothelioma risk assessment for a population environmentally exposed to asbestos

Asbestos-related cancer risk is usually a concern restricted to occupational settings. However, recent published data on asbestos environmental concentrations in Thetford Mines, a mining city in Quebec, Canada, provided an opportunity to undertake a prospective cancer risk assessment in the general population exposed to these concentrations. Using an updated Berman and Crump dose-response model for asbestos exposure, we selected population-specific potency factors for lung cancer and mesothelioma. These factors were evaluated on the basis of population-specific cancer data attributed to the studied area's past environmental levels of asbestos. We also used more recent population-specific mortality data along with the validated potency factors to generate corresponding inhalation unit risks. These unit risks were then combined with recent environmental measurements made in the mining town to calculate estimated lifetime risk of asbestos-induced lung cancer and mesothelioma. Depending on the chosen potency factors, the lifetime mortality risks varied between 0.7 and 2.6 per 100,000 for lung cancer and between 0.7 and 2.3 per 100,000 for mesothelioma. In conclusion, the estimated lifetime cancer risk for both cancers combined is close to Health Canada's threshold for "negligible" lifetime cancer risks. However, the risks estimated are subject to several uncertainties and should be confirmed by future mortality rates attributed to present day asbestos exposure.
Auteurs (Zotero)
Bourgault, Marie-Hélène; Gagné, Michelle; Valcke, Mathieu
Date de publication (Zotero)
mars, 2014