Is living close to ophiolites related to asbestos related diseases? Cross-sectional study
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Objective: To determine the rate of pleural plaques and malignant mesothelioma and other factors that affect people living close to ophiolites. Methods: The study population was comprised of 2970 volunteers who resided <10 km from an ophiolitic unit. Control group comprised of 157 residents >25 km from ophiolites. Information gathered from the patients included presence of pleural plaques on chest X-ray, distance from ophiolites, gender, smoking status, duration of asbestos exposure, and body mass index (BMI). Mineralogical analysis of soil and rock samples was performed by X-ray diffraction. Results: Among the 2970 study participants, those who lived close to ophiolites, 9.8% had asbestos related disease (3 malignant mesothelioma, 289 pleural plaques). No asbestos related disease (ARD) was identified in the control group. Male gender (OR: 2.63, 95% 1.9-3.5, p < 0.001), advanced age (5% increase for every year p < 0.001), residential proximity to ophiolites (for every 1 km proximity, a 12% increase p < 0.001), and low BMI (for every 1 unit decrease, 3.6% increase p < 0.001) were associated with increased risk of ARD. Conclusion: The rate of ARD is higher in residents living close to ophiolites. Important risk factors for developing ARD were age, male gender, proximity to an ophiolite site, and low BMI. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.