in Taranto IPS (Italian polluted site, made up of 2 municipalities) the Decree defining site boundaries lists the presence of a refinery, a steel plant, a harbour area and waste landfills together with illegal dumping sites. Previous environmental and epidemiological investigations in the area documented the presence of environmental contamination and increased mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as a number of cancer sites; for these same health outcomes the cohort study of residents showed increased risk both in terms of mortality and morbidity.
to describe the health status of residents in Taranto IPS analyzing different health indicators available at municipal level, i.e. mortality (2003-2009), mortality time trend (1980-2008) and cancer incidence (2006-2007).
the analyses were carried out for residents in Taranto IPS. Mortality update (SENTIERI Project, 2003-2009) regards 63 single or grouped causes (all ages, both genders); for a selection of causes 0-1 and 0-14 age classes were analyzed (both genders combined). Standardized mortality ratio crude (SMR) and deprivation adjusted together with 90% confidence intervals (90%CI) were computed using regional rates for comparison. Mortality time trend (1980-2008, triennial intervals) were analyzed calculating standardized rates (0-99 years, both genders, per 100,000, Italian population at 2001 Census as reference) and 90%CI. Time trends were computed for all causes, all neoplasms (and lung cancer), cardiovascular diseases (and ischemic heart diseases), respiratory diseases (also acute and chronic) and all causes infant mortality (both genders combined). For cancer incidence (2006-2007) Standardized incidence ratio (SIR) and 90%CI were calculated for both genders; incidence rates of cancer registries of the macroarea South and Islands (2005-2007) and rates of Taranto Province excluding SIN municipalities (2006-2007) were used for comparison.
in Taranto IPS mortality among men is in excess in both periods (SENTIERI Project 1995-2002 and 2003-2009) for all causes, all neoplasms (including lung and pleural cancer), dementia, cardiovascular diseases (including hypertension and ischemic heart diseases), respiratory diseases (including the acute ones) and digestive diseases (including liver cirrhosis). All causes infant mortality is in excess in both periods. Time trends show that Taranto IPS rates are higher than regional average in the majority of time intervals for most causes in both genders. Rates are often higher than national average form any triennial intervals. Among males, over the whole period, mortality in Taranto IPS is higher than regional and national average for causes as lung cancer, diseases of the respiratory system, including the chronic ones. Among females, since the early Nineties, lung cancer and ischemic heart diseases are in excess in Taranto IPS. Also infant mortality is higher for the whole period in Taranto IPS than regional and national averages. Cancer incidence results show excesses for cancer sites already indicated by mortality data.
mortality analyzed in the context of SENTIERI Project (1995-2002 and 2003-2009), time trend mortality (1980-2008) and cancer incidence (2006- 2007) show, in both genders, excesses for causes for which an etiologic role of environmental exposure present in Taranto IPS are either ascertained or suspected on the basis of a priori evaluation of the epidemiological evidence. The finding of excess infant mortality is of the utmost importance in public health terms. Most diseases showing an increased risk have multifactorial etiology, therefore interventions of proven efficacy, such as smoking cessation, food education, measures for cardiovascular risk reduction and breast cancer and colon screening programmes should be planned. To build a climate of confidence and trust between citizens and public institutions study results and public health actions are to be communicated objectively and transparently.