Potential years of life lost (PYLL) caused by asbestos-related diseases in the world

Am J Ind Med. 2013 Sep;56(9):993-1000. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22206. Epub 2013 Jun 12.


Background: We applied the well-established, but rather under-utilized, indicator of Potential Years of Life Lost (PYLL) to estimate the global burden of mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Methods: We analyzed all deaths caused by mesothelioma and asbestosis that were reported by 82 and 55 countries, respectively, to the World Health Organization (WHO) from 1994 to 2010.

Results: The 128,015 and 13,885 persons who died of mesothelioma and asbestosis, potentially lost a total of 2.18 million and 180,000 years of life (PYLL), or, an annual average PYLL of 201,000 years and 17,000 years, respectively. The average PYLL per decedent were 17.0 and 13.0 years for mesothelioma and asbestosis, respectively.

Conclusions: The current burden of asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) in terms of PYLL is substantial. The future burden of ARDs can be eliminated by stopping the use of asbestos.

Keywords: age adjusted mortality rate; asbestos; asbestos-related diseases; asbestosis; burden of disease; disability adjusted life years (DALY); global; mesothelioma; potential years of life lost.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asbestosis / mortality*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Life Tables*
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / mortality*
  • Middle Aged