Women ‘are more affected by asbestos’

Workers exposed to asbestos as part of their job are at a significantly greater risk of heart disease and stroke than the general population, with women more likely to be affected than men, according to new research.

It is already well known that asbestos workers are prone to serious lung disease, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, as a direct result of their exposure to asbestos fibres.

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In the latest study scientists analysed the cause of death among nearly 100,000 asbestos workers. The research team compared the number of deaths from stroke and heart attacks among these workers, between 1971 and 2005, against the number that would be expected to occur in the general population.

Male asbestos workers were 63 per cent more likely to die of a stroke and 39 per cent more likely to die of heart disease. The figures for women were 100 per cent and 89 per cent more likely, respectively.