Health Effects of Environmental Asbestos Exposure

환경성 석면노출의 건강영향

  • Kang, Dong-Mug (Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Department of Occupational & Environmental Medicine Pusan National University, Research Center for Asbestos Related Diseases)
  • 강동묵 (양산부산대학교 산업의학과, 부산대학교 석면중피종연구센터)
  • Published : 2009.04.30


In Korea, asbestos related diseases (ARDs) associated with occupational and environmental asbestos exposures have been reported, and commercial products contaminated with asbestos have gathered huge public attentions recently. Review of previous studies was conducted. Whereas asbestos consumptions among developed countries have decreased, those of Asian countries have increased, which showed typical international transfer of hazardous industries. In Korea residents around former asbestos mines had ARDs, which were reported in many countries such as South Africa, Canada and Australia. ARDs among residents around asbestos factories were found in many countries such as United Kingdom, United States and Italia, and increased relative risks were reported among residents around asbestos textile factories in Korea. Increased air asbestos concentrations by environmental asbestos leakages from factories were correlated with higher malignant mesothelioma incidence rates. When air dispersion model applied, excess incidence rate as far as 2.5 km from a factory were observed. As mesothelioma incidence rate, a representative index of ARD, in Korea has not reported systemically, mandatory reporting system by health personnel who diagnose the disease needs to be introduced. It is hard to conclude that commercials with contaminated asbestos do not have adverse health effects, and further studies are needed to solve these public questions.


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