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ICOH study shows asbestos-related deaths have gone underreported

International health agencies estimate that 105,000 to 110,000 deaths occur every year across the world due to asbestos exposure. However, a recent study from the International Commission of Occupational Health shows that the reality could be even worse. Florida residents should know that exposure to this mineral causes more than just mesothelioma; in fact, it's more likely to cause lung cancer.

In its most extensive study, the ICOH calculated that in 2016, there were 39,275 fatal cases of occupational asbestos-related disease in the U.S. and 222,321 such cases worldwide. The reason for this discrepancy between the current and previous estimates is that medical professionals can now better identify asbestos-related lung cancer. In the past, oncologists would identify smoking as the cause behind many of these cases.

The ICOH found that while 3,161 workers in the U.S. died from mesothelioma, 34,270 died from asbestos-related lung cancer. Asbestos exposure also resulted in 787 fatal cases of ovarian cancer, 443 of larynx cancer and 613 of asbestosis. This reinforces the point that the effects of exposure can be wide-ranging.

While 62 countries have banned asbestos, more than 100 countries have not. According to the ICOH, over 2 million tons of the mineral are consumed annually. Researchers call for developed countries to more adequately respond to the asbestos threat, especially where it's already in place.

When workers are exposed to asbestos and other harmful elements on the job, they may be eligible for compensation. A successful workers' compensation claim could reimburse one for past and future medical expenses, disability leave, lost wages and more. An injured worker can hire a lawyer to ensure a smooth filing process; legal counsel can be especially helpful if a claim is denied.

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