Mesothelioma incidence and asbestos exposure in Italian national priority contaminated sites

Alessandra Binazzi, Alessandro Marinaccio, Marisa Corfiati, Caterina Bruno, Lucia Fazzo, Roberto Pasetto, Roberta Pirastu, Annibale Biggeri, Dolores Catelan, Pietro Comba, Amerigo Zona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives This study aimed to (i) describe mesothelioma incidence in the Italian national priority contaminated sites (NPCS) on the basis of data available from the Italian National Mesothelioma Registry (ReNaM) and (ii) profile NPCS using Bayesian rank analysis. Methods Incident cases of mesothelioma and standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were estimated for both genders in each of the 39 selected NPCS in the period 2000–2011. Age-standardized rates of Italian geographical macro areas were used to estimate expected cases. Rankings of areas were produced by a hierarchical Bayesian model. Asbestos exposure modalities were discussed for each site. Results In the study period, 2683 incident cases of mesothelioma (1998 men, 685 women) were recorded. An excess of mesothelioma incidence was confirmed in sites with a known past history of direct use of asbestos (among men) such as Balangero (SIR 197.1, 95% CI 82.0–473.6), Casale Monferrato (SIR 910.7, 95% CI 816.5–1012.8), and Broni (SIR 1288.5, 95% CI 981.9–1691.0), in sites with shipyards and harbors (eg, Trieste, La Spezia, Venice, and Leghorn), and in settings without documented direct use of asbestos. The analysis ranked the sites of Broni and Casale Monferrato (both genders) and Biancavilla (only for women) the highest. Conclusions The present study confirms that asbestos pollution is a risk for people living in polluted areas, due to not only occupational exposure in industrial settings with direct use of asbestos but also the presence of asbestos in the environment. Epidemiological surveillance of asbestos-related diseases is a fundamental tool for monitoring the health profile in NPCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-559
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Environmental risk
  • Epidemiological surveillance
  • Italy
  • Occupational disease
  • Polluted area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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