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Researchers Say ‘Dentist’ Now a High-Risk Occupation for Asbestos Exposure

Researchers says that ‘dentist’ is now a high-risk occupation for asbestos exposure. Though most cases of malignant mesothelioma of the pleura are caused by one or more readily available recognized sources of asbestos exposure, because asbestos has been used in over 3,000 products, cases of the disease with more obscure exposures do occur. One of the thousands of products on the list is dental lining tape.

The product was used in the dental industry from the 1930s until at least the 1970s. The product was commonly used in the “lost wax” method of casting bridges, crowns, and other metal dental prosthetic devices. The process involved heating the devices to high temperatures. This meant that the tape used to line the devices had to possess extraordinary heat and flame resistance properties. At the time, asbestos was being called the “miracle mineral” thanks to its resistance to heat, so it was a common choice for manufacturers of the product.

Dentists who worked in the industry from the 1930s to the 1970s were routinely exposed to airborne chrysotile asbestos dust from the dental tape. Though exposure to the mineral was often in small and sporadic, a surprising six cases of pathology-verified malignant mesothelioma have been reported to date. Researchers say this number is likely to increase. According to a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “these cases underscore the need for comprehensive exposure histories to determine exposure scenarios.”

If you worked in the dental industry from the 1930s to the 1970s, you may have been exposed to asbestos. If you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, pain in the side of the chest or lower back, fatigue, weight loss, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, and/or swelling of the face or arms, please do not ignore these signs. See your doctor right away. It could be mesothelioma.

 

Sources

"Asbestos Toxicity Who Is at Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), 09 Aug. 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.

"Chrysotile Asbestos." Chrysotile Asbestos (n.d.): n. pag. Who.Int. World Health Organization (WHO), 2014. Web. 02 May 2017.

Markowitz, Steven B., and Jacqueline M. Moline. "Malignant Mesothelioma Due to Asbestos Exposure in Dental Tape." American Journal of Industrial Medicine 60.5 (2017): 437-42. Web. 02 May 2017.

"Who Is at Risk for an Asbestos-related Disease?" National Cancer Institute. National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes