ENVIRONMENTAL ASBESTOS AND INCIDENT MESOTHELIOMA IN CALIFORNIA
X. Pan, H. Day. M. Schenker. Departments of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, and
Geology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 USA
Objective: To examine the relation between mesothelioma incidence and environmental asbestos
in Calif. during the period 1988-97.
Methods: Ecological study at county and census tract level using GIS approaches. Analysis of
2949 incident mesothelioma cases and the digital map of ultramafic rocks in Calif. that are the
principal source of asbestos in the environment.
Results: Exact residential addresses at diagnosis were available for 93% of cases and matched to
a unique intersection. 7% of cases were matched to a 5-digit zip vicinity. Mesothelioma cases
were geocoded on the Calif. state map and assigned to census tracts. Most cases were located in
cities near the West Coast or along rivers in Calif., most likely reflecting occupational asbestos
exposure. Population-weighted correlation analysis (1990 population) showed mesothelioma
incidences are significantly correlated with asbestosis mortality (P<0.0001) and population-
weighted distance to the nearest asbestos deposits (P=0.0016) at county level. GIS buffer
analysis showed the ten-year age-adjusted mesothelioma incidence aged 35+ (12.5 per 100,000)
in asbestos deposit areas was not significantly higher than those in their buffers. Mesothelioma
incidences within 3,4,5,6,7, and 8 km buffers were 16.4, 15.5, 17.6, 17.6, 16.7, and 18.9 per
100,000 respectively, significantly higher than the incidence (12.7 per 100,000) in Calif. There
was no evidence of a dose-response between mesothelioma incidence and the distances from
asbestos deposits and their buffers. Similar results were observed when counties with a higher
mesothelioma incidence were excluded.
Conclusion: Occupational exposure to asbestos is a dominant determinant for occurrence of
mesothelioma in Calif.. The relation between environmental asbestos and mesothelioma