All-cause mortality and cancer incidence among adults exposed to blue asbestos during childhood

Am J Ind Med. 2013 Feb;56(2):133-45. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22103. Epub 2012 Aug 9.


Background: There are few data on the long-term health outcomes of exposure to asbestos in childhood. This study investigated cancer and mortality of adults exposed to blue asbestos as children.

Methods: Data linkage to relevant health registries was used to identify cancers and mortality in a cohort of adults (n = 2,460) that had lived in an asbestos mining town during their childhood (<15 years).

Results: There were 217 (93 female) incident cancers and 218 (70 female) deaths among the cohort. Compared with the Western Australian population females had elevated mesothelioma, ovarian and brain cancers, and increased "all cause" and "all cancer" mortality. Males had elevated mesothelioma, leukemia, prostate, brain, and colorectal cancers, and excess mortality from "all causes," "all cancers," circulatory disease, diseases of the nervous system, and accidents.

Conclusion: Exposure to blue asbestos in childhood is associated with an increased risk of cancer and mortality in adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite / analysis
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite / toxicity*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mining
  • Mortality*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Registries
  • Western Australia / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Air Pollutants
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite