Validation of death certificates in asbestos workers

Br J Ind Med. 1969 Oct;26(4):302-7. doi: 10.1136/oem.26.4.302.


Newhouse, M. L., and Wagner, J. C. (1969).Brit. J. industr. Med.,26, 302-307. Validation of death certificates in asbestos workers. The Registrar General has supplied the certified cause of death of 436 past workers in an asbestos factory. An attempt was made to follow up the 301 (69%) deaths which had occurred in hospital or had been the subject of an inquest or coroner's post-mortem examination. Necropsy reports were obtained for 158 (52%) of this group and histological material was reviewed in 84 (28%). The additional information, particularly that obtained from review of the histology, led to the revision and extension of the diagnosis suggested by the certified cause of death in a number of cases. The incidence of carcinoma of the bronchus had not been grossly underestimated, four additional tumours of this type were identified by scrutiny of the necropsy reports, and a further four by review of histological sections. The incidence of mesothelial tumours was underestimated, endothelioma or mesothelioma was the certified cause of death in four of the series, and a further 15 mesotheliomata were identified by review of histological material. Five patients with pleural mesotheliomata had been certified as dying of carcinoma of the lung or pleura. Ten deaths from peritoneal mesotheliomata had been attributed either to carcinomatosis without mention of a primary tumour or to cancer of the gastro-intestinal tract. Lung sections were submitted for review in 67 of the series; some degree of asbestosis was found in all but seven. Asbestosis graded as either moderate or severe was found in all the confirmed cases of carcinoma of the lung.

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos / adverse effects
  • Asbestosis / mortality*
  • Asbestosis / pathology
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Death Certificates*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality


  • Asbestos