ABSTRACT: Based on a 11-year implementation of the Amiantus Project, this paper reports the results of prophylactic medical examinations of the former workers of asbestos processing plants. The Project involving employees of 28 former asbestos plants was started by the Ministry of Health in 2000 under the Act on the ban of all products containing asbestos.
Preventive examinations, continued in 13 centers of occupational medicine throughout the whole territory of Poland, have been coordinated by the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Lodz (NIOM). During the examinations, a specific Examination Form is filled-in by a physician. The Form is then sent to NIOM for monitoring health effects in the population covered by the Project. The results obtained by analyzing the lung radiological images are recorded in the Examination Form according to the ILO 1980 classification of pneumoconiosis. The diagnosis of the asbestos-related pathologies is based on the Helsinki criteria.
During the years 2000-2010, altogether 6,853 people were involved in the Project, and they were subjected to a total of 18,955 preventive examinations. Asbestosis was diagnosed in 1475 people, representing 21% of all respondents, lung cancer in 68 and mesothelioma in 40 people. Pleural radiographic changes were observed in 3027 (44%) patients, pulmonary parenchymal opacities in 4086 (60%) patients. The analysis showed that the asbestos-related pathologies were most frequent in the group of former employees of asbestos-cement plants. This group was also characterized by an age-, tenure-, and latency-related increasing trend in the prevalence of silicosis and the frequency of radiographic lesions in the lungs of those subjects.
The continuation of the examinations of former workers of asbestos processing industry has improved the detection of pathologies associated with exposure to asbestos and enabled undertaking an appropriate preventive action. The growing percentage of poorer radiography results reflects the progressive development of pathological processes in the respiratory system of people occupationally exposed to asbestos dust in the past.
Medycyna pracy 01/2011; 62(5):465-72. · 0.30 Impact Factor