About the Study

The study is being conducted in the town of Asbest, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russian Federation. In this town, the Joint Stock Company (JSC) Uralasbest operates the world′s largest chrysotile mine and processing mill. This site currently produces approximately 20% of the world′s asbestos and has been in operation for more than 120 years.

The overall aim of the study is to more precisely characterize and quantify the exposure-response relationship for total and site-specific cancer risks associated with exposure to chrysotile asbestos (1).

This study is funded by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in the framework of the Federal Target Program “National System of Chemical and Biological Safety of the Russian Federation” of 2009-2014 and of 2015-2020.

The Russian Federation planned a study on the health effects of exposure to chrysotile, to be led by the Scientific Research Institute of Occupational Health (SRIOH) of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (now called the Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health [FSBSI]). In 2007, IARC was invited to collaborate through provision of independent, high-quality expertise in epidemiological and statistical aspects throughout the design, fieldwork, and analysis of the study.

During 2008-2009, the SRIOH, Utrecht University, Yekaterinburg Medical Research Center for Prophylaxis and Health Protection in Industrial Workers, and IARC evaluated available sources of relevant exposure and outcome (disease and mortality) information and developed the study design. In 2010, the potential for linkage of cohort members to vital statistics records was assessed on a random sample of workers employed in 1975. The exercise demonstrated the possibility of obtaining dates and causes of death for cohort members who died in the Sverdlovsk Oblast. In 2011, the full study design was decided upon and cohort enumeration commenced.

The study has been approved by the IARC Ethics Committee (IEC). The study is monitored by an independent Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

Reference:

  1. Schüz J, Schonfeld SJ, Kromhout H, Straif K, Kashansky SV, Kovalevskiy EV, Bukhtiyarov IV, McCormack V. A retrospective cohort study of cancer mortality in employees of a Russian chrysotile asbestos mine and mills: study rationale and key features. Cancer Epidemiol 2013 Aug;37(4):440-5.