Mortality from cancer and other causes among Italian chrysotile asbestos miners

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the long-term mortality of a cohort of Italian asbestos miners.

Methods

The cohort included 1056 men employed in a chrysotile mine between 1930 and 1990, who were followed up during 1946–2014, for a total of 37 471 person-years of observation. Expected deaths and SMRs were computed using national and local (after 1980, when available) reference.

Results

A total of 294 (27.8%) subjects were alive and at the end of follow-up, 722 (68.4%) were dead and 40 (3.8%) were lost to follow-up. The SMR for overall mortality was 1.35 (95%CI 1.25 to 1.45). The SMR for pleural cancer, based on seven observed deaths, was 5.54 (95% CI 2.22 to 11.4) and related to time since first exposure, but not to duration of employment, cumulative exposure or time since last exposure. The SMR for lung cancer was 1.16 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.52; 53 observed deaths), with no excess among workers with cumulative exposure below 100 fibre/mL-years (SMR 0.82; 95% CI 0.44 to 1.40).

Conclusions

The update of the follow-up of this cohort confirmed an increased mortality from pleural cancer mortality in miners exposed to chrysotile and a lack of significant increase in lung cancer mortality.

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