Sangyo Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2008 Sep;50(5):145-51. Epub 2008 Aug 22. [Link]
Nagao N, Nishikawa K, Kiyomoto Y, Todoroki M, Hoshuyama T, Takahashi K.
Department of Emergency, Kansai Rosai Hospital, Japan.
In June 2005 the press reported that many former employees of a company which used asbestos, and individuals who lived near the company’s factory, had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. This finding triggered concern and alarm in Japan. In response, many "asbestos clinics" were formed, and recognized medical institutions began to implement asbestos-related health examinations. We conducted a nationwide questionnaire survey to evaluate the activities in, and the challenges for, these medical institutions. We received 137 valid responses, more than half of which were from clinics and hospital-based "asbestos clinics" instigated after the "Kubota shock." Among the asbestos exposure history interviewing practices, job histories of the interviewee were prioritized, over place of residence, and possible exposure of family members. Standard questionnaires were utilized by over 70% of respondents. The practitioners reported problems with lack of manpower and evaluation of asbestos exposure. Examinees consulted attending physicians on a wide range of matters including asbestos-related diseases, asbestos exposure, and financial compensation. It is predicted that asbestos-related diseases in general, and mesothelioma in particular, will increase in the future. Accordingly, early detection and treatment should be accorded high priority. The organizations we surveyed have important roles to play. Although resources are limited, effective diagnosis and treatment are essential, and a system assisting organizations to make accurate and efficient identification of asbestos exposure hazards is imperative.