Asbestos-related mortality in Italy: A geographical approach

P. Comba, M. Di Paola, M. Martuzzi, R. Pirastu

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The present contribution describes two studies of asbestos-related cancer mortality in Italy: an analysis of the geographical distribution of mortality from pleural neoplasms and an investigation into the relationship between pleural and lung cancer mortality in an Italian region, Piedmont. Mortality from malignant pleural neoplasms (ICD - IX Revision 163.0-163.9) has been studied in Italy in the 20 regions and the over 8000 municipalities for the years 1988-92: restriction of analysis to municipalities with at least three observed deaths and statistically significant increases led to identification of areas where occupational and/or environmental exposure to asbestos can have occurred. The analysis of pleural and lung cancer mortality was carried out for the years 1980-87 in Piedmont using an empirical Bayes method for small-area disease mapping; the results showed that the proportion of lung cancer mortality attributable to asbestos exposure was 5.6 and 5.7 percent respectively in men and women. While analyses of routinely collected data are no substitute for ad hoc individual based studies, notwithstanding the limitations of geographical approaches to the study of asbestos-related mortality, investigations carried out at the level of small area populations appear to provide informative results, which might be of value in terms of public health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293 - 301
Number of pages9
JournalMedicina del Lavoro
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Comba, P., Di Paola, M., Martuzzi, M., & Pirastu, R. (1997). Asbestos-related mortality in Italy: A geographical approach. Medicina del Lavoro, 88(4), 293 - 301.