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Asbestos workers 'at higher risk of death by heart disease'

Workers who are exposed to asbestos as part of their job are at a “significantly” greater risk of death from heart disease and stroke, research suggests.

The risk also rises further among females.

A study, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, analysed the cause of death in almost 100,000 asbestos workers taking part in regular voluntary health monitoring through the Asbestos Workers Survey.

Most of the men worked in asbestos removal while the majority of the women studied worked in manufacturing.

During the study period, 15,557 people died from all causes. Stroke accounted for just over 1000 deaths while heart disease accounted for another 4000.

The number of deaths attributable to stroke and heart disease was compared against the number expected to occur in the general population.

Scientists found female asbestos workers are 100% more likely to die of a stroke and 89% more likely to die of heart disease.

The figures were lower in males - 63% and 39% respectively.

Researchers concluded asbestos workers were significantly more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than the general population, even after taking into account over half of men (58%) and women (52%) asbestos workers were smokers at the time of their first medical examination.

Have you noticed a link between asbestos workers and ill health?