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Asbestos has not finished talking about it. According to ANSES, this dangerous material promotes the appearance of cancers of the ovaries and larynx. But these misdeeds are still too little recognized as “occupational diseases”.
According to ANSES, asbestos – a fibrous material banned in France since 1997 – is the cause of many cancers of the larynx and ovary. This is at least confirmed by a report from the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (Anses), commissioned by the Ministries of Health and Labor.
Exposure to asbestos: cancers of the larynx and ovary linked and yet not recognized as occupational diseases
Bronchopulmonary and pleural cancers (a malignant tumor in the membrane that surrounds the lung) are already part of the “table of occupational diseases” (which aims to facilitate the recognition and management of diseases) .
However, they are not the only cancers that can be caused by these carcinogenic fibers. Ovarian and laryngeal cancers can also result from exposure to asbestos.
This is also the observation established since 2012 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classifies chemicals according to their carcinogenicity.
However, “only 130 applications for recognition of laryngeal cancer as an occupational disease associated with asbestos exposure were examined between 2010 and 2020″ specifies ANSES.
In addition, out of six applications for recognition of ovarian cancer linked to occupational exposure to asbestos, none was recognized.
“When we interviewed health professionals as part of this expertise, we realized that despite its recognition by the IARC for ten years, the link between cancers of the larynx and ovaries and exposure to asbestos was very little known. Since asbestos is commonly associated with cancers of the lungs and pleura, neither doctors nor patients make the link with other cancers”explains Alexandra Papadopoulos, project manager in the Air Risk Assessment Unit and expert coordinator.
Asbestos-related risks: forgotten women?
Although epidemiological studies are mainly carried out on men, women are also affected by exposure to asbestos. Those who work in the health sector would also be much more at risk, according to ANSES.
To better understand the dangers incurred by the fairer sex, “The expert group believes that more data is needed to document women’s exposure to asbestos and the impacts on their health.concludes Alexandra Papadopoulos.
Important fact: the latency time between the first exposure to asbestos and the first symptoms is very long – about 35 years – which complicates the recognition and management of patients.
Associations demand a reaction from the public authorities
The FNATH, association of accident victims reacted to this report from ANSES: “The publication of the new PM tables must now take place without delay. The FNATH will see to this so that the victims so that the victims and/or their families can benefit from care and compensation (social security funds and/or FIVA). Let us recall, in fact, that for kidney cancer following exposure to trichlorethylene, the Government had taken 4 long years to publish the table of MPs allowing professional victims depriving the victims and their families of compensation accordingly!!” .
Same claim on the side of the National Association for the Defense of Asbestos Victims (Andeva) which also wishes “that the public authorities implement all of ANSES’s recommendations, in particular measures to support victims and raise awareness among the medical profession“.