[Tuscany mesothelioma registry (1988-2000): evaluation of asbestos exposure].Med Lav. 2002 Nov-Dec; 93(6):507-18.ML
The Tuscany Mesothelioma Register (ARTMM) records pleural malignant mesothelioma cases of Tuscany residents, diagnosed by histological, cytological, or clinical (radiography or computerized tomography) examinations. The ARTMM began in 1988 and estimates mesothelioma incidence in Tuscany and collects information on past asbestos exposure of mesothelioma cases.
The aim of this paper was to describe the incidence of pleural mesothelioma cases in Tuscany and to analyse their possible past asbestos exposures.
We considered pleural mesothelioma cases recorded in ARTMM in the period 1988-2000 and interviews collected for these cases. In order to identify past asbestos exposure in the occupational and non-occupational history of patients, interviews were carried out using a standardised questionnaire.
In the period 1988-2000, 494 pleural malignant mesothelioma cases were recorded in the ARTMM; 82% were males. In the periods 1988-1993, 1994-1997, 1998-2000 the incidence rates, standardised on the Italian population (per 100,000), were respectively 1.15, 1.57, 2.58 among males; 0.29; 0.27; 0.29 among females. Information on occupational history was collected for 418 mesothelioma patients (85% of recorded cases): 173 mesothelioma cases were directly interviewed; for 245 cases relatives or work colleagues were interviewed. Occupational asbestos exposure was ranked as certain, probable or possible in 72% of the interviewed cases (80% of males; 20% of females). Environmental and non-occupational asbestos exposure was identified in 1% of males, and 3% of females. In 24% of the interviewed cases (15% of males; 74% of females) no known asbestos exposure was identified. Occupational asbestos exposure occurred in maritime activities (shipyards, dock work, merchant and regular Navy), the building industry, railway carriage construction and maintenance, rail transport, textile industries (mainly rag sorting), electricity production, asbestos cement manufacture, chemical, iron and steel industries and in glass manufacturing. In Tuscany two areas are distinguished for their well-documented and massive use of asbestos: the coastal areas (Livorno and Massa Carrara) for maritime activities, and the areas of Pistoia and Arezzo for railway carriage construction and repair. Mesothelioma incidence rates in these areas are the highest in the whole region.
Further investigation is needed in order to identify unknown asbestos uses and consequent exposure, in particular for females. Uncertainty as regards occurrence of asbestos exposure persists in the textile industries where the mesothelioma epidemics have not yet declined. Research hypotheses are addressed on the re-use of jute bags previously containing asbestos, therefore collection of further information on periods and methods of this recycling activity is essential.