Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reduction In Mesothelioma Cases In Sweden

Mesothelioma is a terrible illness. It affects those persons who are exposed to asbestos fibers and asbestos dust. Mesothelioma may be cancerous (a malignant form) or non-cancerous (a benign form of mesothelioma), When asbestos fibers or asbestos dust is inhaled, it enters the body and travels through the body organs, The body organs like heart, abdomen and lungs have a lining called as mesothelium lining. When this lining comes in touch with the asbestos particles, it starts behaving abnormally. The asbestos fibers make the mesothelium cells to divide rapidly. Also, these cells start to outlive the other cells. This leads to tumors in that part of the body. This body condition is called as mesothelioma. The tumors may also spread to other parts of the body.
The worst part of this disease is that it has a very long latency period of about 20 to 40 years. Also, this disease has no known cure. So, the only way to check the spread of this disease is by banning asbestos. Though many countries like USA, UK and Japan have banned asbestos, mesothelioma deaths still continue. This is because the disease has a huge latency period. It is expected that the member of deaths due to mesothelioma is going to skyrocket in the years 2015 to 2020. However, there is only one country, 'Sweden', which has shown a steady decline in the number of cases of mesothelioma. Let us see how and why this was possible in Sweden.
Mesothelioma Statistics in Sweden
There are around 100000 mesothelioma cases all around the world now. Even more is expected in the next 10 years all around the globe. In 1961-2000, Sweden registered around 2190 cases of mesothelioma. On an average, this statistics is around 52 cases per year. However, the year 1993 was a terrible period as the number of mesothelioma cases reached a very high peak in this year.
After 1993, there was a gradual decline in the number of mesothelioma cases. By the year 2003, Sweden had about 20 mesothelioma cases per million populations per year. In the same year, Britain had around 39 cases per million populations. While the entire world was facing the problem of increasing mesothelioma cases, Sweden was the only country where there is a steady decline in the member of mesothelioma cases. The reasons for this change should be analyzed.
Immediate Action taken by Sweden
Sweden is the only country that took immediate action against the deadly mesothelioma. It imposed an immediate ban on asbestos. The first immediate reaction of Sweden was started in 1964 itself. The first asbestos regulations of Sweden dates back to 1964. In the year 1976, Sweden started imposing very strict regulations on the import and the use of asbestos. 1986 to 1988 was another landmark for Sweden. During these years, Sweden imposed a complete ban on asbestos. Sweden is the first country in the entire European union to impose a complete ban on all types of asbestos. Many countries do not ban white asbestos or chrysolite. The reason given by them is that the white asbestos does not cause any harm if used with proper safeguards. However, as the real reason behind their inaction is that the immediate economic returns make them blind to the future public health of millions. Sweden makes an exception to this. It banned all types of asbestos.
Another important lesson to be learnt from Sweden is that white asbestos is also very harmful. 90% of the asbestos used in Sweden was white asbestos. When all

Types of asbestos were banned in Sweden. There was a drastic decline in

the number of cases of mesothelioma. This clearly proves that even white asbestos is very harmful. It may lead to lots of diseases like asbestosis, fibrosis, asbestos warts and the deadly mesothelioma. The main reason for the decline in mesothelioma cases in Sweden is because Sweden took quick and immediate action to control the disease.
Sweden's campaign against the disease started in 1964 itself. Still the highest number of deaths due to Occupational diseases in Sweden is because of mesothelioma. If this is the case in Sweden, then it is scary to think of the condition in other countries. The other countries should start acting immediately. Countries like India have still not banned white asbestos claiming that there is no scientific evidence that it is harmful. This is utter gibberish. White asbestos is also highly harmful and all countries should follow Sweden's example and ban all types of asbestos mining, manufacture and use. Only then the number of mesothelioma cases will reduce in the future. The world will be a better place to live in, in the future.

The writer is a research expert at a medical research firm. Webmaster:

No comments:

Post a Comment