The annual cost of newly diagnosed mesothelioma and lung cancer due to work-related asbestos exposure is significantly higher than first thought, according to a study by the Institute for Work & Health.
The original tab was $1.9 billion, but a review of figures now puts that cost at $2.35 billion, according to research by senior scientist Emile Tompa, a health economist who assessed the costs to Canadian society of newly diagnosed cases in 2011.
The study is the first to estimate the costs to society of illnesses associated with work-related asbestos exposures, including secondhand or para-occupational exposures (like a family member’s exposure to fibres brought home on work clothing).
The new estimate is higher because it includes the value of activities in the home (known as home production). This addition to the estimate was requested by the article’s peer reviewers.Tompa and his team looked at the estimated total lifetime costs of 427 newly diagnosed cases of mesothelioma in 2011, as well as 1,904 newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer in the same year, for a total of 2,331 new cases in 2011. These were all cases attributed to occupational and para-occupational exposures to asbestos.
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