Mortality of a young population after accidental exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin

P. A. Bertazzi, Carlo Zocchetti, Angela C. Pesatori, Stefano Guercilena, Dario Consonni, Adriana Tironi, Maria Landi

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Bertazzi P A (Institute of Occupational Health, University of Milan, Via San Bamaba 8, 20122 Milano, Italy), Zocchetti C, Pesatori A C. Guercilena 5, Consonni D, Tironi A and Landi M T. Mortality of a young population after accidental exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxln. International Journal of Epidemiology 1992; 21: 118-123.The mortality experience of 19637 people aged 1-19 years living in an area around Seveso, Italy, contaminated by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) after an accidental explosion in a chemical plant was examined for the period 1976-1986. For comparison, the mortality of the population of nearly 100000 people living in the surrounding distjicts was examined. People who left the study area were followed up. Vital status ascertainment was successful in over 99% of the cases. A group of 186 children who contracted chloracne, a reversible marker of TCDD intoxication, shortly after the accident were in the study: none of them died during the observation period. Among the exposed, mortality owing to all causes, to all accidents and to all cancers failed to show major departure from expectations. Five leukaemia deaths were observed, four among males and one among females; the corresponding relative risks were 2.1 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.7-6.9), and 2.5 (95% CI: 0.2-27.0), respectively. Two lymphatic Ieukaemias among males yielded a RR=9.6 (95% CI: 0.9-106.0). Mortality owing to congenital anomalies showed a nearly twofold increase in the contaminated area; however, five out of seven observed cases were born before the accident. Interpretation is limited by the small number of deaths, short latency period and low validity of death certificate information for certain causes, and by the definition of exposure which was based merely on residence. The follow-up is continuing. A cancer morbidity study is in progress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Epidemiology


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