Professional Bakers Contract Asbestos Disease 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) in Bakers and Pastry Cooks by V Ascoli, R Calistl et al appeared in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine 40:371-73 (2001). The authors: "Detected eight cases of MPM in bakers, pastry cooks and biscuit cooks engaged in making, baking/cooking, and selling pastry/bread in two hospital-based series… Presumptive source of exposure to asbestos was the use of asbestos-insulated ovens."

Researchers examined 222 cases of MPM which occurred in Rome and Turin, Italy between 1990-1997 and identified individuals who had worked for a minimum of one year as bakers or biscuit and pastry cooks. Eight cases of MPM were found: 1 biscuit cook, 2 artisan bread bakers, 3 pastry cooks and 2 bakers. Investigations were undertaken to inspect baking ovens and collect data about their construction: "in addition, samples of insulating materials collected from several ovens were analysed for their mineral content." Although the actual ovens were no longer available for inspection, examination of similar appliances which had been made in Italy before the 1980s revealed that the insulation, fire-proofing or sealant products used often contained chrysotile or amosite asbestos. The scientists "hypothesize that MPM development might be attributed to the presence of uncovered ACM (asbestos-containing material) in ovens." Asbestos materials on ovens are often removed without any precautions. The authors recommend that new protocols be put in place to ensure that asbestos still on old ovens is identified, removed or sealed.


18 February, 2002



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