Asbestos Exposure Level and the Carcinogenic Risk Due to Corrugated Asbestos-Cement Slate Roofs in Korea


Asbestos-cement slate roofs are one of the most common environmental causes of asbestos exposure. However, few studies have examined residential asbestos-cement slate-related exposure and its effects on human health. This study was performed to evaluate cumulative asbestos exposure levels and to calculate the Excess Lifetime Cancer Risk (ELCR) of residents of asbestos-cement slate-roofed houses. We reviewed previous Korean literature to estimate the concentration of airborne asbestos from asbestos-cement slate roofed buildings. Finally, eight studies were selected, and a pooled analysis was performed. The results derived from the pooled analysis were combined with the data from a health impact survey conducted from 2009 to 2016 at the Environmental Health Center for Asbestos (EHCA) of the Yangsan Pusan National University Hospital, and a carcinogenic risk assessment was performed. As a result, the representative value of the indoor exposure concentration related to asbestos-cement slate was found to be 0.0032 f/cc on average, and the representative value of the exposure related to occupational asbestos-cement slate dismantling and demolition was found to be 0.0034 f/cc. In addition, the ELCR of asbestos-cement slate related indoor exposure and occupational dismantling and demolition was found to be of medium risk, and the ELCR of residential dismantling and demolition of asbestos-cement slate was less than 10-6, indicating that the risk was low. Since there is no threshold for carcinogenicity related to asbestos, this should not be ignored even if the risk appears low, and it would be reasonable to calculate the carcinogenic risk based on total lifetime exposure. More studies on asbestos exposure scenarios and the scope of similar exposure groups through additional data collection and further analysis of risk are needed.

Authors: Eun-Soo Lee, Young-Ki Kim
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2021 Jun 28;18(13):6925. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18136925.