Chrysotile, a serpentine asbestos fibre, is the only type of asbestos produced and consumed in the world today. It is an established human carcinogen. We have begun fieldwork on a retrospective cohort study of employees of one of the world's largest chrysotile mine and mills, situated in Asbest, Russia. The primary aim of the study is to better characterize and quantify the risk of cancer mortality in terms of (i) the dose-response relationship of exposure with risk; (ii) the range of cancer sites affected, including female-specific cancers; and (iii) effects of duration of exposure and latency periods. This information will expand our understanding of the scale of the impending cancer burden due to chrysotile, including if chrysotile use ceased worldwide forthwith. Herein we describe the scientific rationale for conducting this study and the main features of its study design.
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