BACKGROUND: Fibrous tremolite is a widespread amphibole asbestiform mineral, airborne fibres of which constitute an environmental hazard in Libby, Montana, northern California, and elsewhere.
AIMS: To determine excess risk from lung cancer, mesothelioma, and all-cause mortality in a cohort of men exposed to tremolite, but no other form of asbestos.
METHODS: Mortality by certified cause and various measures of exposure to tremolite and related amphibole fibres was assessed in a cohort of 406 vermiculite mineworkers in Libby, Montana, employed before 1963 and followed until 1999.
RESULTS: Total deaths were: lung cancer 44 (SMR 2.40), non-malignant respiratory disease (NMRD) 51 (SMR 3.09), all causes 285 (SMR 1.27); included among the total were 12 deaths ascribed to mesothelioma (4.21% of all deaths). Adjusted linear increments in relative risks (per 100 f/ml.y), estimated by Poisson regression, were: lung cancer (0.36, 95% CI 0.03 to 1.20), NMRD (0.38, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.96), and all deaths (0.14, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.26).
CONCLUSIONS: The all-cause linear model would imply a 14% increase in mortality for mine workers exposed occupationally to 100 f/ml.y or about 3.2% for a general population exposed for 50 years to an ambient concentration of 0.1 f/ml. Amphibole fibres, tremolite in particular, are likely to be disproportionately responsible for cancer mortality in persons exposed to commercial chrysotile, but to what extent cannot be readily assessed.
- Aluminum Silicates
- Asbestos, Amphibole
- Cohort Studies
- Lung Neoplasms
- Regression Analysis
- Risk Factors