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Thirty-two cases of mesothelioma in Victoria, Australia: a retrospective survey related to occupational asbestos exposure.
  1. J E Milne


    Mesotheliomas have been reported in four states in Australia. Crocidolite has been mined and milled at Wittenoom in West Australia where five cases of mesothelioma were reported after exposure of high intensity. The 32 cases of mesothelioma reported in this paper occurred during a period of 11 years in Victoria; 29 were pleural and three peritoneal. There were 22 autopsies. End occupations were misleading in 66% of cases. Two of the three subjects with peritoneal mesothelioma were siblings, and there was no evidence of occupational or other exposure to asbestos in either. There was a significant prevalence of pulmonary asbestos bodies in the tumour series as compared with an unselected consecutive series of 200 routine autopsies (0.01 greater than P greater than 0.001). The occupational history was as effective a method of assessing 'true' asbestos exposure as the pulmonary asbestos body count. Five cases had had a duration of exposure of one year or less, but they had had heavy exposure. The latent interval before tumour development was 25 years or longer in each case. There was no known exposure to asbestos in five cases (16%). The rare association of mesothelioma with types of asbestos other than crocikolite may not exist and could be explicable on the basis of the proportion (16%) of these tumours arising randomly in the population.

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