Asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibers. Because these fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity, asbestos has been mined and used widely in the construction, automotive, and other industries. Asbestosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis caused by asbestos exposure typified by excess connective tissue in the lungs. Because the disease manifests in the lungs, common asbestosis symptoms include respiratory problems such as coughing, swelling in the neck or face, cracking sound when breathing, or difficulty swallowing.
A complete medical evaluation is needed before a proper asbestosis diagnosis can be made. This includes reviewing potential asbestos exposure, work history, symptoms and undergoing various tests and imaging scans that can detect lung abnormalities. Pulmonary function tests can be used to assess a patient's ability to inhale and exhale, and a computed tomography scan of the lungs can show flat, raised patches associated with advanced asbestosis.
The effect was measured through comparing the incidence of pleural malignant mesothelioma in birth cohorts who started to work before and after the decrease in the use of asbestos, i.e. in mid-1970s. Cases were identified through the Swedish Cancer Registry and the analysis was restricted to persons born in Sweden.Men and women born 1955–79 had a decreased risk of malignant pleural mesothelioma compared to men and women born 1940–49 (RR 0.16, 95% CI 0.11–0.25; and RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.23–0.97 respectively