Environmental Medicine | CSEM | GREM | Continuing Education | Patient Education | PEHT | Community
Section Contents
Key Concepts
About This CSEM
Continuing Education
Case Contents
Table of Contents
How to Use the Course
Initial Check
What is Asbestos
Where Found
Who Is At Risk?
U.S. Standards
Biological Fate
Pathogenic Changes
Respiratory Conditions
Other Conditions
Clinical Evaluation
Diagnostic Tests
Patients' Instructions
More Information
Literature Cited
Education Sheet
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Environmental Medicine
Continuing Education
Online Registration
Patient Education
Community Education
Related Documents
Exposure Registry
Exposure Review
Naturally Ocurring
Public Health Statement
Toxicological Profile
ATSDR Resources
ATSDR en Español
Case Studies (CSEM)
Exposure Pathways
Health Assessments
Health Statements
Interaction Profiles
Interactive Learning
Managing Incidents
Medical Guidelines
Minimal Risk Levels
Priority List
Toxicological Profiles
Toxicology Curriculum
External Resources
Medline Plus

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 
Case Studies in Environmental Medicine (CSEM) 
Asbestos Toxicity

Course: WB 1093
CE Renewal date: June 18, 2010
CE Expiration Date: June 18, 2012

Key Concepts

  • Although asbestos is no longer used in many products, it will remain a public health concern well into the 21st century.
  • Intact asbestos sources in the home release few fibers and should be left undisturbed. Damaged or crumbling materials should be repaired or removed only by certified asbestos-removal professionals.
  • Asbestos exposure is associated with parenchymal asbestosis, asbestos-related pleural abnormalities, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, and it may be associated with cancer at some extra thoracic sites.

About This and Other Case Studies in Environmental Medicine

This educational case study document is one in a series of self-instructional courses designed to increase the primary care provider's knowledge of hazardous substances in the environment and to promote the adoption of medical practices that aid in the evaluation and care of potentially exposed patients. The complete series of Case Studies in Environmental Medicine is located on the ATSDR Web site at URL: In addition, the downloadable PDF version of this educational series and other environmental medicine materials provides content in an electronic, printable format, especially for those who may lack adequate Internet service.

How to Apply for and Receive Continuing Education Credit

Please go to Training and Continuing Education Online and follow the instructions on that page. for more information about continuing medical education credits, continuing nursing education credits, and other continuing education units.


We gratefully acknowledge the work that the medical writers, editors, and reviewers have provided to produce this educational resource. Listed below are those who have contributed to development of this version of the Case Study in Environmental Medicine.

Please Note: Each content expert for this case study has indicated that there is no conflict of interest to disclose that would bias the case study content.

ATSDR Authors: Pamela Tucker, MD

ATSDR Planners: Valerie J. Curry, MS; John R. Doyle, MPA; Jill, J. Dyken, Ph.D.; Bruce J. Fowler, Ph.D.; Kimberly Gehle, MD, Sharon L. Hall, Ph.D.; Michael Hatcher, DrPH;, Kimberly Jenkins, BA; Ronald T. Jolly; Vikas Kapil, MD; Karen Larson, Ph.D; Delene Roberts, MSA; Oscar Tarrago, MD; Brian Tencza, MS; Pamela Tucker, MD.

ATSDR Commenters: Jill J. Dyken, Ph.D.; John Wheeler, Ph.D.; Karen Larson, Ph.D.; Vikas Kapil, MD; Bruce J. Fowler, Ph.D; Kimberly Gehle, MD; Malcolm Williams, Ph.D.


Peer Reviewers: Dina G. Markowitz, Ph.D.; William S. Beckett, MD, M.P.H.; Arthur L. Frank, MD, Ph.D.; John Wheeler, Ph.D.; Malcolm Williams, Ph.D.


The state of knowledge regarding the treatment of patients potentially exposed to hazardous substances in the environment is constantly evolving and is often uncertain. In this educational monograph, ATSDR has made diligent effort to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information presented, but makes no claim that the document comprehensively addresses all possible situations related to this substance. This monograph is intended as an educational resource for physicians and other health professionals in assessing the condition and managing the treatment of patients potentially exposed to hazardous substances. It is not, however, a substitute for the professional judgment of a health care provider. The document must be interpreted in light of specific information regarding the patient and in conjunction with other sources of authority.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine
Environmental Medicine and Educational Services Branch

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Revised 2007-04-19.