We investigated whether individuals exposed to asbestos by living near an asbestos-manufacturing facility experienced increased lung cancer mortality. We studied a neighborhood around such a plant in the central Japanese city of Hashima. From 1943 to 1991 this plant produced insulation and packing material using amosite-and chrysotile-type asbestos fibers. The study group was comprised of 577 households. We obtained demographic information by a questionnaire and determined the underlying cause of death for deceased household members from death certificates. Using hourly meteorological data from local observatories, we estimated relative asbestos concentrations in the plant's vicinity, determined the quartile boundaries, and designated each study subject's quartile of ambient exposure. Finally, we calculated standardized mortality ratios to evaluate the association of residential asbestos with lung cancer risk. Our findings strongly suggest that neighborhood asbestos exposure can increase the risk of lung cancer mortality in men and probably in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-278
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Asbestos
  • Hashima
  • Japan
  • Lung cancer
  • Mortality
  • Neighborhood exposures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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