Asbestos and Lung Cancer 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Medical and legal historians have long been aware of the early recognition by German authorities of the link between asbestos exposure and lung cancer. In the seminal paper by Richard Doll (1955) entitled Mortality from Lung Cancer in Asbestos Workers, research by German scientists into the link is acknowledged and a 1941 German paper by pathologists Adolf Sorge and Martin Nordmann from the University of Hanover is referenced.

On January 29, 1943 a German ordinance was promulgated which declared that “Asbestos dust diseases of the lung (asbestosis) in connection with cancer of the lung” was a compensable occupational disease; this was the first time any government had acknowledged the link between asbestos and lung cancer. A copy of the amendment to the (German) Accident Insurance Code was obtained in November 2012 at the Faculty of Law, Humboldt University, Berlin by Professor Hans-Joachim Woitowitz and has now been translated by IBAS. The German original (Reichsgesetzblatt 1943 ext.) and the English translation have been uploaded to this website.

December 10, 2012



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