New study reveals women may be more vulnerable to mesothelioma

Last Updated on October 5, 2016 by

New study reveals women may be more vulnerable to mesothelioma

People who are exposed to asbestos during their working life are more likely to develop an asbestos related disease such as mesothelioma.

People who work in industries such as construction, ship building, automotive and manufacturing have shown strong links to developing asbestos cancer, mainly men, but now a new study reveals women may be more vulnerable to mesothelioma and other cancers.

The study which was carried out in Italy by research group, Environmental International, reveals that women living in close proximity to a plant in Italy that used asbestos were at greater risk of developing mesothelioma than men living in exactly the same location.

And even though the researchers found that there was a high number of mesothelioma cases amongst plant workers, they discovered that there were even more women that had developed mesothelioma in that area.

Italian factories made cement using asbestos for many years, even at the time when it was revealed how dangerous asbestos was, they still continued.

There is an ongoing case in Italy at the moment where one said factory owner is being investigated for the deaths of 3000 people as a result of being exposed to asbestos from his factory.

In-depth study shows asbestos worker’s families also affected

Researchers in Milan and at England’s National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, looked at cases of mesothelioma originating from an asbestos cement factory that was in operation in Italy between 1932 and 1993.

They wanted to find out how many cases of mesothelioma there were overall and then to dissect this information and compare the number of cases amongst the workers to those within their families or those people who may have lived near the cement factory.

The researchers compiled the data over an 11 year period, between 2000 and 2011.

They found a total of 147 cases of mesothelioma, with 38 of these victims having worked at the factory, but an astonishing 37 people were members of the worker’s own families!  It was mainly wives who most likely came into contact with asbestos dust due to it being on their husbands clothes and them dealing with the household laundry.

But what’s even more astonishing is that the study revealed 72 cases of mesothelioma that were reported in areas where no-one had ever worked at the cement factory or had family members who did – a total of 23 men and 49 women.


It’s puzzling to know the reasons why women may be more susceptible to inhaling asbestos fibers and developing mesothelioma than men.   Medical scientists have only recently realized that men and women need to be studied separately in order to help understand their risk of disease  and how to respond with the correct medical treatment.  This study highlights that fact.


Source of article:


Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting

Alternatively, to book onto one of our asbestos training courses, please call 0161 761 4424 or visit 



Twitter Feed


Published Oct 04, 2016

Get in touch
  1. <p> <label> <input type="checkbox" name="mc4wp-subscribe" value="1" /> Subscribe to our newsletter. </label> </p>