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Asbestos Air Pollution: Description Of A Mesothelioma Cluster Due To Residential Exposure From An Asbestos Cement Factory

Luigi Vimercati, Domenica Cavone, Maria Celeste Delfino, Antonio Caputi, Luigi De Maria, Stefania Sponselli, Vincenzo Corrado, Giovanni Maria Ferri, Gabriella Serio

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The study describes a cluster of 71 malignant mesothelioma cases among Bari residents without asbestos exposure other than residential exposure. This small cohort, as expected, was composed of a majority of females (56.34%) with a M/F ratio of 0.8, ages ≤ 65 years old (52.11%) and the epithelioid morphological type (78.87%). Sixty-four subjects (90.14%) lived between 10 m and 1000 m from the asbestos cement factory (Fibronit), and the latency length was longer than 55 years for 25 subjects (35.21%). The adjusted risk (adjusted OR) of observing the epithelial form of mesothelioma among subjects living at small distances from Fibronit was high (OR = 1.870 (0.353–9.905)) for people living 550–1000 m from the site and for those living less than 550 m from the site (OR = 1.470 (0.262–8.248)). Additionally, the subjects with a high length of exposure showed a relevant risk of epithelioid mesothelioma both for 21–40 years of exposure (OR = 2.027 (0.521–7.890)) and more than 40 years of exposure (OR = 2.879 (0.651–12.736)). All of the estimates were high but not significant because this transitional study has a typically low power. The adjustment for latency showed the same trend. Using detailed information collected by the regional mesothelioma registry, this study provided evidence of a continuing health impact of the Fibronit asbestos cement factory in Bari on the resident population.