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Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Medical Records Ignored by Nation Leaders

January 25th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Medical records that pertain to asbestosis or mesothelioma must be dug up from the archives of the past. Without medical record collections and retrievals, the forewarnings of impending asbestosis and mesothelioma come only from witnessing the sufferings of an asbestosis patient or the languishing death of a mesothelioma cancer patient.

Asbestosis and mesothelioma statistics are sharply under-estimated due to the lack of many nations to implement an efficient medical retrieval system and properly care for and diagnose lung disease patients who are suffering from asbestosis or mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. In many nations, physicians that are able to properly diagnose the disease are rarely, if ever, available. These same nations often have poor record keeping systems in place to monitor health trends and examine medical histories. Many times asbestosis and mesothelioma are simply referenced as “lung disease,” without a proper determination of the classification of lung disease.

Years pass before these progressive lung diseases start showing their scarring presence, but an archive of medical history can facilitate proper diagnosis, and national archives of medical histories can facilitate early warnings. Despite this knowledge, India has no cancer registry, nor does it have a system for recording mesothelioma and asbestosis cases. In the Philippines, the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) reports that asbestos caused diseases will be under diagnosed due to low employer participation in submitting medical records to a central agency. (Less than 5% of employers do so.)

In Brazil, where corporations scurry to cover any implications of occupational hazards or ill will, medical records are virtually non-existent for asbestos workers. The Eternit asbestos plant in Brazil has had asbestos workers for over 50 years, yet no medical records were ever kept prior to 1978. In China, death records are purged and permanently eliminated after death, leaving no source for documenting trends in deaths or comparisons and similarities between diseases. And although China is one of the top five asbestos producers and users in the world, this nation continues to have a minimal amount of empirical studies on the implications of asbestos exposure.

Fortunately, in many nations, allowable exposure limits are being reduced, inspections are being heightened, and politicians and corporations are being pressured. Environmental groups and protection agencies continue to test asbestos material and promote its eventual ban. Unfortunately, politics and corporations still govern irresponsible asbestos promotions, and millions of innocent people are unaware of its dangers. The lack of public awareness has led to a deadly economic dependency on asbestos.

Asbestosis and mesothelioma deaths need to be recorded, death records need to be maintained, and medical histories of asbestos workers need to be compiled to gain a full realization of the statistical and economical impact of the world’s burgeoning asbestosis and mesothelioma crisis. Asbestosis and mesothelioma records are useless, however, unless they are used to promote change and develop public awareness – which is precisely what the mining and trading nations are afraid of.

Lina Smith

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