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CDC: Deaths from Mesothelioma to Peak in 2010

According to a study conducted by federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control, deaths from malignant mesothelioma in the United States is still increasing, but should peak in the year 2010.

As part of the study, the CDC reviewed death records from 1999 to 2005, finding that the number of mesothelioma deaths per year increased during that period, from 2482 to 2704. Maine was hardest hit by asbestos-related deaths, with an annual death rate of 27 per million.

Mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, tends to appear 20-40 years after initial exposure. Because asbestos use in the US was heavily restricted after the 1970s, its health impact is expected to decrease after 2010. Experts caution, however, that instances of malignant mesothelioma are unlikely to disappear; asbestos is still legally used and shipped into the United States. Furthermore, scientists are currently investigating several substances which may act like asbestos when inhaled, including carbon nanotubes and erionite.

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