01:16 pm, Thursday 19 April, 2012
The researchers looked into more than 15,000 deaths among nearly 99,000 asbestos workers between 1971 and 2005. They discovered that almost 4,200 of these deaths were caused by heart disease and more than 1,000 by stroke, particularly among women.
The Australian reports that male asbestos workers were more likely to die of a stroke (63%) and 39 percent likelier to die of heart disease compared to the general public, even when smoking was taken into account.
The corresponding figures for female asbestos workers were 100 percent and 89 percent.
Most of the male workers involved in the study had been employed in asbestos removal, while the female workers were mainly involved in manufacturing that included asbestos.
Researchers also discovered that the longer the duration that workers were exposed to asbestos, the greater their risk are of dying from heart disease, even when smoking was taken into consideration.
Asbestos was widely used in a variety of building construction materials and as fire retardant in the 20th century before it was outlawed for causing certain cancers and lung diseases.
The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.