Pleural mesothelioma is a tumor of low incidence whose relation with the exposure to asbestos has been widely demonstrated. This exposure is generally occupational, but may also be domestic and there is the possibility of environmental exposure.
By death certifications all the cases of death by pleural mesothelioma residing in the province of Barcelona from 1983-1990 have been identified. The rates of direct or indirect mortality (standardized by age and sex) (cause of standard mortality) for all the municipalities of the province with some case of mesothelioma over the period studied were calculated. The geographic localization of the companies using asbestos in the province of Barcelona has been obtained, being classified into 6 groups according to the productive subsector to which they belong.
The rate of mortality per 100,000 inhabitants from 1983-1990 was 0.83 for males and 0.47 for females. The calculation of the cause of standard mortality for the municipalities of the province has shown an statistically significant increase in the risk of pleural mesothelioma for El Prat de Llobregat (ratio of standard mortality: 355.1) and Cerdanyola (ratio of standard mortality 313.9) where the companies producing fibrocement are located.
Part of the cases of pleural mesothelioma in the province of Barcelona may not be due to direct occupational exposure; thus there may be important domestic and/or environmental exposure.