Asbestos Linked to Throat Cancer
An expert panel from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has conclusively determined that asbestos causes cancer of the larynx. The IOM report aggregated findings from 34 different studies and concluded that people who are exposed to asbestos have a forty percent greater chance of developing cancer of the larynx than do people without a previous asbestos exposure. For those trades with regular, heavy asbestos exposure, such as miners and certain construction workers, their risk of exposure was double to triple that of normal. Cancer of the larynx now joins lung cancer and mesothelioma as definite products of asbestos exposure.
The IOM report has also implicated asbestos as a possible cause of cancers of the stomach, upper throat, colon, and rectum. However, the data was not strong enough to conclusively determine that asbestos was the primary causative agent in those malignancies.
The IOM report comes in the middle of a congressional debate on setting up a $140 billion fund to settle new and outstanding asbestos-related health claims. The bill is unlikely to be passed in this legislative session as a great divide over many of the bill’s particulars still separates many Democrats and Republicans.