Asbestos workers have increased chances of getting two principal types of cancer: cancer of the lung tissue itself and mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin membrane that surrounds the lung and other internal organs. These diseases do not develop immediately following exposure to asbestos, but appear only after a number of years. The following references describe the health hazards of asbestos and how to recognize them.
Asbestos. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic. Includes recommendations for preventing occupational exposure to asbestos and other resources.
Revised Recommended Asbestos Standard. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 77-169, (December 1976). Provides extensive discussion of asbestos hazards and control measures. Though the material is dated, this is a valuable resource.
Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite mined from Libby, Montana
Vermiculite. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic. Includes health effects, how workers should be protected, and NIOSH investigations of potential asbestos exposures to downstream users of this vermiculite.
Asbestos in Your Home. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Provides residents of Libby, Montana information to reduce asbestos exposure until the EPA Superfund clean-up program is completed.
Take Home Toxins. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Provides information on contamination of workers' homes by hazardous substances transported from the workplace.
Protect Your Family - Reduce Contamination at Home. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-125, (1997). Summarizes a NIOSH conducted study of contamination of workers' homes by hazardous substances transported from the workplace.
Protecting Workers' Families - A Research Agenda: Report of the Workers' Family Protection Task Force. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-113, (February 2002). Represents the Task Force's commentary on the 1995 NIOSH Workers' Home Contamination Study report, identifies gaps in the current knowledge about take-home exposures and related health effects, and provides a prioritized agenda for federally sponsored research.
Report on Carcinogens (RoC). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Toxicology Program (NTP). Identifies agents, substances, mixtures, and exposure circumstances that are known or reasonably anticipated to cause cancer in humans.
Asbestos (PDF). NTP classification: Known to be a human carcinogen
Greenberg M., Davies L, T. A. "Mesothelioma Register 1967-68." British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 31, 91-104, 1974. In this study the briefest occupational exposure to asbestos associated with a mesothelial tumour was three weeks, but if asbestos was a cause of mesothelioma it cannot be assumed that lesser exposures are safe.
Hammar SP, Henderson DW, Klebe S, Dodson RF. "Chapter 43: Neoplasms of the pleura." In: Tomashefski JF Jr., ed. Dail and Hammar's Pulmonary Pathology, 3rd Edition. New York: Springer, 2008.
Wang X, Lin S, et. al. "Cause-specific mortality in a Chinese chrysotile textile worker cohort." JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. A cohort of 586 males and 279 females from a chrysotile textile factory were prospectively followed for 37 years. The data confirmed significantly excess mortality from mesothelioma in either gender, lung and larynx cancers in males, and ovarian cancer in females.
Toxicological Profile for Asbestos. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (September 2001). Characterizes the toxicological and adverse health effects information of asbestos.
ToxFAQs™ for Asbestos. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (September 2001). Answers the most frequently asked health questions about asbestos.
Asbestos (CASRN 1332-21-4). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Discusses the health effects of asbestos.
Asbestos. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Fact Sheet. Lists asbestos as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) under the National Emissions Standard Hazardous Air Pollutants section of its Clean Air Act.
Asbestos (PDF). New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet, (January 2001). Provides a summary source of information of all potential and most severe health hazards that may result from asbestos exposure.
Asbestosis. American Lung Association (ALA). Provides fact sheets on asbestosis, links to its asbestos page, and to reports on other forms of lung disease. Founded in 1904 to fight tuberculosis, ALA today fights lung disease in all its forms.
All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.
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