According to a recent Environment Ministry survey in Japan around eighteen percent of people that live near factories that handle asbestos show signs of having pleural plaques, which is a condition that is known to stem from exposure to asbestos and can develop into cancer later in life.

The results of the ministry report showed that the equivalent of one hundred and forty five people out of around eight hundred people living near to these factories showed evidence of this condition. The report states that whilst these people were not directly exposed they suffered secondary exposure through asbestos fibers and dust released into the atmosphere.

Sugio Furuya, secretary general at the Tokyo-based Japan Occupational Safety and Health Resource Center , said: “There’s no longer any doubt that there was pollution, in which people around the factories inhaled asbestos. The government should quickly establish a health management system to help them receive medical treatment for free.”

The survey involved analyzing the data of just over eight hundred people who had never actually worked in these factories or with asbestos, but had been exposed via the atmosphere.

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