Het aantal gevallen van pleuraal mesothelioom was in Italië tussen 1980 en 2001 even hoog als het aantal gevallen van asbestgerelateerde longkanker. Drie procent (ca. 700) van alle mannelijke longkankersterfgevallen is asbestgerelateerd.

In Italië komt de ziekte maligne mesothelioom in 148 plaatsen vaker voor dan gemiddeld. Bij 22 van de 148 plaatsen is geen specifieke oorzaak van asbestblootstelling aanwijsbaar. Marinaccio et al. vergeleken de geografische verdeling van het aantal mesothelioom longkankersterfgevallen met de plaatsen waar in het verleden intensief met asbest is gewerkt.

Bron: Marinaccio, A. et al. (2008). Magnitude of asbestos-related lung cancer mortality in Italy. Br J Cancer. 2008 Jul 8;99(1):173-5.
An ecological study, based on a data set containing all lung and pleural cancer deaths in each Italian municipality in the period 1980-2001, was performed. The pleural to lung cancer ratio was estimated to be 1 : 1 and 3% (around 700) of all male lung cancer deaths were found to be asbestos-related.

Bron: Marinaccio, A. et. al., (2008). Asbestos related diseases in Italy: an integrated approach to identify unexpected professional or environmental exposure risks at municipal level. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2008 Aug;81(8):993-1001. Abstract Purpose: Past intensive use of asbestos has implied severe public health consequences. Spatial distribution of deaths from malignant mesothelioma and of compensated cases for asbestos related diseases in Italy were compared to identify unexpected sources of asbestos exposure. Methods: Mortality for malignant mesothelioma at municipal level and geographical clusters of compensated cases for asbestos related diseases, as proxy of industrial asbestos exposure, were identified in the period 1988-2001. Results: Municipalities with at least four mesothelioma deaths and a statistically significant mortality excess were 148; and 53 out of them had no compensated case for asbestos-related diseases. Finally 22 of these lay outside of any aforementioned cluster, thus suggestive of a possible unrecognized exposure. Conclusions: Availability long-term national figures and the different etiology of asbestos related diseases are the key features of this exercise that was applied to Italy, but can be replicated wherever registration systems of diseases related to long term exposure to asbestos are available.