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June 21, 2003 8:58 PM
Asbestos Deaths Soaring

Asbestosis deaths among U.S. residents age 15 and over have increased from fewer than 100 in 1968 to more than 1,250 annually in 1999. the most recent year for which data are available, with no apparent leveling off of this trend. 

Over the l0-year period from 1990 to 1999, there were more than 10,000 asbestosis deaths and annual asbestosis death counts increased by one-third. 

During the 10-year period from 1990 to 1999, asbestosis deaths represented about one-third of all pneumoconiosis deaths. 

For 1998 and for 1999. asbestosis deaths outnumbered coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP) deaths, displacing CWP as the most frequent type of pneumoconiosis death.

Asbestosis was desi2nated as the underlying cause of death in one-third of all asbestosis deaths from 1990 to 1999. 

Residents of California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. Texas. Florida, Washington, and Virginia together accounted for nearly half of all asbestosis deaths in the 1990 to 1999 period. 

For the period from 1985 to 1999, four counties (one in Virginia, one in Texas, one in Mississippi, and one in New Jersey) had age-adjusted asbestosis mortality rates that exceeded the national rate by more than 20-fold. 

Based on a large subset of the national data for which decedents’ usual occupation and industry information was available, the construction industry accounted for one-fourth of decedents with asbestosis from 1990 through 1999. 

From 1990 to 1999. decedents whose death certificate indicated that they were insulation workers or boilermakers had proportionate asbestosis mortality 20 times higher than that in all occupations combined. 

Hospital discharges associated with asbestosis have been rising rapidly between 1995 and 2000.

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