Italians combat deadly asbestos legacy

ITALY banned the use of asbestos in 1992, but now faces a legacy of high rates of occupational meso­thelioma.

The Italian register for pleural malignant mesothelioma recorded almost 8900 cases from 1993 to 2004, or 3.49 cases per 100,000 men and 1.25 cases per 100,000 women.

Occupa­tional exposure was involved in almost 70% of cases, while living with someone with an occupa­tional exposure or near a contaminated site each accounted for almost 5%.

The median year of workers’ first exposure was 1957 – about 20 years before the country’s peak in asbestos production (1976–80).

Int J Cancer 2011, online 6 June