The significance of non-occupational asbestos exposure in women with mesothelioma

Respirol Case Rep. 2018 Nov 20;7(1):e00386. doi: 10.1002/rcr2.386. eCollection 2019 Jan.


Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive pleural or peritoneal tumour almost always caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. Exposure to asbestos can cause malignant mesothelioma 30-40 years after exposure. A description of sources of exposure is important for prevention and possible financial compensation. Three women with cases of histologically confirmed malignant mesothelioma diagnosed from non-occupational asbestos exposure are described. Patients were contacted for an interview to assess their exposure history to asbestos. All three cases had mixed exposure histories related to secondary, environmental contamination, and domestic exposure. This case series highlight how ubiquitous asbestos is in the environment and how diverse the exposures may be. It is anticipated that a significant number of cases of non-occupational mesothelioma will be seen in many countries for several decades given the extent of asbestos containing materials.

Keywords: Asbestos; South Africa; malignant mesothelioma; non‐occupational exposure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports