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New Risks of Asbestos – Crohn’s Disease and Kidney Cancer

New Risks of Asbestos – Crohn’s Disease and Kidney Cancer

We know that mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer can all be caused by asbestos exposure. The thin, almost invisible fibers that become airborne can become lodged in the lining of the lungs and the tissue causing cancerous tumors. With more asbestos related complications being discovered, it is apparent we do not know all the side effects associated with asbestos. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen has now shown possible links to other illnesses, such as Cohn’s Disease and Kidney Cancer; further proving the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Earlier this year a study done by La Medicina  del lavoro reported a link between asbestos and renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or the most common form of kidney cancer. The case report follows a 76-year old cement worker who was exposed to asbestos for 7 years. He developed kidney cancer and after surgery, he was cleared of his illness. A year later, the patient was then hospitalized for severe abdominal pain and died two months later of peritoneal mesothelioma.  Asbestos exposure is not a typical risk factor for kidney cancer; unlike smoking, obesity, and genetics. While the link to kidney cancer may be small, a Japanese study in 2007 noted similar findings.

In 1989, the American Journal of Industrial Medicine also noted a causal association between asbestos and kidney cancer. Through two occupational cohort studies looking at U.S. insulators, and U.S. asbestos product company workers and a third study examining Italian shipyard workers, it was reported there was an “excess mortality” of cancers associated with the kidney, urinary bladder, and other urinary organs. Further analysis showed asbestos fibers in the kidneys and the urine itself.

Kidneys filter blood, and remove excess salt, water, and waste, which eventually becomes urine. The kidneys are also responsible for controlling blood pressure and making sure the body has enough red blood cells. Most kidney cancers take the form of renal cancer; a cancer in the lining of these organs. Asbestos, while commonly inhaled, can also be a contaminant in water. When contaminated water is ingested, asbestos fibers have a clear path to the bloodstream, which can lead to virtually any part of the body.

Since it is more likely that asbestos fibers will be inhaled, the lining of the abdomen could be embedded with millions of tiny, sharp, needle-like fibers that can turn healthy cells into cancerous ones as the cells become inflamed. The inflammation of the abdominal area is what led scientists and researchers to study the link between mesothelioma and Crohn’s disease: a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. With Crohn’s disease, the digestive tract is inflamed causing abdominal cramps and pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, sensation of incomplete evacuation, and constipation. A recent study looked at 3,800 patients that were diagnosed with mesothelioma to try and see if any of those patients also had Crohn’s disease. The results, while small, did indicate that a few of the patients did suffer from both and so it is noted in the Journal of Clinical Pathology that there is an association between chronic inflammation and the development of malignant mesothelioma. However, instances are rare and the exact role that Crohn’s disease has in regards to peritoneal mesothelioma requires more research and testing.

The dangers of asbestos continue to plague the innocent and scientists and researchers are continually finding new developments in illnesses, diseases, and cancers that carry some link to asbestos.  If you are suffering from a life threatening condition that could be linked to asbestos, contact the attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C. (GPW). Many companies knew of effects of asbestos and declined to warn and protect their workers. Some industrial workers did not even know they worked with the substance until they were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.  For over 30 years, GPW has worked defending the rights of construction tradesmen, chemical plant workers, and many other working men and women. Don’t let time limit your rights! Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.


Butnor KJ, Pavisko EN, Sporn TA &, Roggli VL, “Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma and Crohn Disease,” Journal of Clinical Pathology (August 2, 2016) [Link]

Candura SM, Boeri R, Teragni C, Chen Y, Scafa F, “Renal cell carcinoma and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma after occupational asbestos exposure: case report” La Medicina del lavoro (2016 May 26). [Link]

Smith AH1, Shearn VI, Wood R, “Asbestos and kidney cancer: the evidence supports a causal association” American Journal of Industrial Medicine (1989). [Link]