Time trends and occupational risk factors for pleural mesothelioma in Sweden

J Occup Environ Med. 2003 Apr;45(4):456-61. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000058341.05741.7e.


Epidemiologic data on pleural mesothelioma are scarce on regional and occupational time trends, which would monitor the effects of changes in exposure to asbestos. We aim to characterize time trends, regional, socioeconomic, and occupational risk factors for pleural mesothelioma in Sweden in the years from 1961 to 1998. The Swedish Family-Cancer Database was used to identify patients with pleural mesothelioma. Age-standardized incidence rates and standardized incidence ratio (SIR) were calculated for the population in the Database. A total of 1298 male and 233 female pleural mesotheliomas were retrieved. Age-standardized incidence of the disease was highest, and the trend increased in residents of large industrial and shipbuilding cities. In the last follow-up period, the male rate exceeded the female rate about 10-fold. Among male socioeconomic groups, manual workers showed the highest and ever-increasing SIR. No female socioeconomic group was at risk. For men, plumbers and seamen had the highest risk of 4.56 and 2.83, respectively, but the risks appeared to be decreasing for plumbers, whereas no clear trend was noted for seamen, probably because of indirect expose in ships. Farmers showed an SIR of 0.28, indicating that the population at large was at four times higher risk than farmers. The SIRs of many academic/college-educated groups were two to six times higher than those of farmers, suggesting indirect exposure to asbestos in these groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology