Occupational Health Unit

Padova, Italy

Occupational Health Unit

Padova, Italy
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Barbieri P.G.,Occupational Health Unit | Marinaccio A.,Epidemiology Unit | Ferrante P.,Epidemiology Unit | Scarselli A.,Epidemiology Unit | And 2 more authors.
Tumori | Year: 2012

Aims and background. During the 1990's, the traditional unimodal treatments (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy) for malignant pleural mesothelioma started to be combined in bimodal or multimodal strategies. However, recent population-based analyses of the survival of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma indicate that even these treatments have not led to significant improvements in prognosis, which remains very poor. The present study assessed the survival of patients given combined treatments and multimodal therapies in a specialized hospital department. Methods. The study population comprised 530 patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma from 1982 to 2006: 343 of them were residents in the province of Brescia (Lombardy, Northern Italy) and 187 were residents outside the province, with a follow-up to 31 December 2009. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox proportional risks model were used to test sex, age at diagnosis, histological type and treatments, as prognostic factors. Results. The estimated median survival for the whole group of patients was 317 days (257 for residents and 398 for non-residents), and respectively 310 and 340 days in the groups diagnosed in the periods 1982-2000 and 2001-2006. Multivariate analysis confirmed that the prognosis was better for younger patients and cases of epithelioid type malignant pleural mesothelioma, whereas for patients receiving any single treatment the prognosis was not significantly better than for those given palliative care alone. However, patients receiving combined treatments or the multimodality approach had significantly longer median survival and the relative risk of death was respectively 0.57 and 0.61 compared to untreated patients (or those only given symptomatic therapy). Conclusions. This is the first study in Italy to assess the effectiveness of different treatment approaches in a significant number of patients treated in one hospital. Further studies are needed to confirm the improvement in prognosis - even if modest - on larger numbers of patients and taking into account the different stages of the disease. © Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore.

Mirabelli D.,University of Turin | Cavone D.,University of Bari | Merler E.,Occupational Health Unit | Gennaro V.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 6 more authors.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2010

Background: Malignant mesotheliomas are strictly related to asbestos, but in a proportion of cases no exposure can be recalled. Published estimates of this proportion have important variations. Historical and geographical differences in the fraction of cancer due to any given exposure are to be expected, but incomplete identification of non-occupational exposures may have played a role Methods: To assess the role of non-occupational exposures in causing malignant mesotheliomas in Italy, the exposures of cases registered by the national mesothelioma registry (ReNaM) were examined. ReNaM started in 1993 in five regions and currently covers 98% of the Italian population. Information on occupational and non-occupational exposures of cases is collected whenever possible. Results: From 1993 to 2001 ReNaM registered 5173 malignant mesothelioma cases, and exposures were assessed in 3552 of them. 144 and 150 cases with exposures limited to environmental (living in the neighbourhood of an industrial or natural source of asbestos) or familial (living with a person occupationally exposed to asbestos) circumstances, respectively, were identified, accounting for 8.3% of all cases. Conclusions: Geographical variations in the proportion of cases due to non-occupational exposures may be explained by the past distribution of asbestos-using industries.

PubMed | University of Rome La Sapienza, Regional Epidemiological Center, Italian National Cancer Institute, University of Bari and 14 more.
Type: | Journal: BMC cancer | Year: 2015

Previous ecological spatial studies of malignant mesothelioma cases, mostly based on mortality data, lack reliable data on individual exposure to asbestos, thus failing to assess the contribution of different occupational and environmental sources in the determination of risk excess in specific areas. This study aims to identify territorial clusters of malignant mesothelioma through a Bayesian spatial analysis and to characterize them by the integrated use of asbestos exposure information retrieved from the Italian national mesothelioma registry (ReNaM).In the period 1993 to 2008, 15,322 incident cases of all-site malignant mesothelioma were recorded and 11,852 occupational, residential and familial histories were obtained by individual interviews. Observed cases were assigned to the municipality of residence at the time of diagnosis and compared to those expected based on the age-specific rates of the respective geographical area. A spatial cluster analysis was performed for each area applying a Bayesian hierarchical model. Information about modalities and economic sectors of asbestos exposure was analyzed for each cluster.Thirty-two clusters of malignant mesothelioma were identified and characterized using the exposure data. Asbestos cement manufacturing industries and shipbuilding and repair facilities represented the main sources of asbestos exposure, but a major contribution to asbestos exposure was also provided by sectors with no direct use of asbestos, such as non-asbestos textile industries, metal engineering and construction. A high proportion of cases with environmental exposure was found in clusters where asbestos cement plants were located or a natural source of asbestos (or asbestos-like) fibers was identifiable. Differences in type and sources of exposure can also explain the varying percentage of cases occurring in women among clusters.Our study demonstrates shared exposure patterns in territorial clusters of malignant mesothelioma due to single or multiple industrial sources, with major implications for public health policies, health surveillance, compensation procedures and site remediation programs.

PubMed | University of Rome La Sapienza, Civile Mp Arezzo Hospital, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, Regional Epidemiological Center and 15 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Occupational and environmental medicine | Year: 2015

Italy produced and imported a large amount of raw asbestos, up to the ban in 1992, with a peak in the period between 1976 and 1980 at about 160,000 tons/year. The National Register of Mesotheliomas (ReNaM, Registro Nazionale dei Mesoteliomi in Italian), a surveillance system of mesothelioma incidence, has been active since 2002, operating through a regional structure.The Operating Regional Center (COR) actively researches cases and defines asbestos exposure on the basis of national guidelines. Diagnostic, demographic and exposure characteristics of non-occupationally exposed cases are analysed and described with respect to occupationally exposed cases.Standardised incidence rates for pleural mesothelioma in 2008 were 3.84 (per 100,000) for men and 1.45 for women, respectively. Among the 15,845 mesothelioma cases registered between 1993 and 2008, exposure to asbestos fibres was investigated for 12,065 individuals (76.1%), identifying 530 (4.4%) with familial exposure (they lived with an occupationally exposed cohabitant), 514 (4.3%) with environmental exposure to asbestos (they lived near sources of asbestos pollution and were never occupationally exposed) and 188 (1.6%) exposed through hobby-related or other leisure activities. Clusters of cases due to environmental exposure are mainly related to the presence of asbestos-cement industry plants (Casale Monferrato, Broni, Bari), to shipbuilding and repair activities (Monfalcone, Trieste, La Spezia, Genova) and soil contamination (Biancavilla in Sicily).Asbestos pollution outside the workplace contributes significantly to the burden of asbestos-related diseases, suggesting the need to prevent exposures and to discuss how to deal with compensation rights for malignant mesothelioma cases induced by non-occupational exposure to asbestos.

Barbieri P.G.,Occupational Health Unit | Mirabelli D.,University of Turin | Somigliana A.,Lombardy Environmental Protection Agency ARPA | Cavone D.,University of Bari | Merler E.,Occupational Health Unit
Annals of Occupational Hygiene | Year: 2012

Background: Epidemics of malignant mesothelioma are occurring among inhabitants of Casale Monferrato and Bari never employed in the local asbestos-cement (AC) factories. The mesothelioma risk increased with proximity of residence to both plants. Objectives: To provide information on the intensity of environmental asbestos exposure, in the general population living around these factories, through the evaluation of the lung fibre burden in mesothelioma patients. Methods: We analysed by a scanning electron microscope equipped with X-ray microanalysis wet (formalin-fixed) lung tissue samples from eight mesothelioma patients who lived in Casale Monferrato or Bari and underwent surgery. Their occupational and residential history was obtained during face-to-face interviews. Semi-quantitative and quantitative indices of cumulative environmental exposure to asbestos were computed, based on residential distance from the AC plants and duration of stay. Results: The lung fibre burden ranged from 110 000 to 4 300 000 fibres per gram of dry lung (f/g) and was >1 000 000 f/g in three subjects. In four cases, only amphibole fibres were detected. Environmental exposures had ceased at least 10 years before samples were taken. No patient had other definite or probable asbestos exposures. A linear relationship was observed between the lung fibre burden and all three indices of environmental cumulative exposure to asbestos. Conclusions: Environmental exposure to a mixture of asbestos fibres may lead to a high lung fibre burden of amphiboles years after exposure cessation. The epidemiological evidence of an increased mesothelioma risk for the general population of Casale Monferrato and Bari, associated with asbestos contamination of the living environment, is corroborated. © The Author 2012.

PubMed | Lombardy Environmental Protection Agency ARPA and Occupational Health Unit
Type: | Journal: Occupational and environmental medicine | Year: 2016

To evaluate the lungs asbestos fibres concentration in participants with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) who have been occupationally exposed.The lung samples were obtained from pleuropneumonectomies or autopsies of 271 male MPMs. The lung samples were examined through scanning electron microscopy. Retrospective assessment was used to assess for asbestos exposure. This study includes 248 MPMs with an occupational exposure defined as either definite or probable or possible.The participants had finished working in asbestos exposure conditions more than 20years ago (on average 26.111.0years). The fibre burden resulted with a geometric mean equal to 2.0 (95% CI 1.6 to 2.4) million fibres per gram of dry lung tissue. The burden was higher among participants employed in asbestos textiles industry and in shipyards with insulation material, if compared with construction workers or non-asbestos textile workers or participants working in chemicals or as auto mechanics. 91.3% of MPMs had a detectable amount of amphibole fibres. A strong lung clearance capability was evident among workers exposed to chrysotile fibres. Owing to that, the 1997 Helsinki Criteria for occupational exposure were reached in <35% of cases among participant working in construction, in metallurgical industry, in chemical or textile industry and among those performing brake repair activities.The MPM cases are now occurring in Italy in participants who ceased occupational asbestos exposure decades before the analysis. A large majority still shows a residual content of amphibole fibres, but given the lung clearance capability, attribution to occupational exposure cannot rely only on fibres detection.

PubMed | Hellenic Open University, General Hospital of Patras and Occupational Health Unit
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Rural and remote health | Year: 2015

Interhospital transfers (ITs) could provide insight into regional healthcare efficiency and evidence for policy-making. The aim of this study was to analyse ITs carried out in the Western Greece region over a nine-year period.Archives of the National Center of Emergency Medical Services of Patras and official healthcare resources were used to analyze patient transfers from rural to reception hospitals in the area, during the period 2003-2011, by hospital, medical, seasonal and population variations.A total of 2500 ITs from the eight rural hospitals to the central ones in the metropolitan area of Patras were monitored yearly. Transfer rates per population ranged between less than 0.3% and more than 1.0%. Only a few patients transferred outside the area (0.9%). Almost 10% of total transfers regarded diagnostic evaluation (mostly CT scan). Transfer rates were inversely related to hospital admission rates (Pearson -0.973, p=0.027), while time (in minutes) (Pearson -0.903, =0.036) and distance (in kilometers) between the rural and central hospitals (Pearson -0.907, p=0.034) also exhibited significant relationships. The level of understaffing does not have a clear effect on ITs.By monitoring ITs, it becomes evident where efforts should be prioritized and which of the interconnections should be optimized in a specific network of health care. In this case, interventions should be focused towards the (a) very high transfer rates from the general hospital (GH) of Aigio, (b) lack of orthopedists at GH Kalavryta, which could provide a 24 hour emergency service in a tourist ski area, (c) understaffing in the microbiological laboratory and lack of a CT scanner at GH Mesologi, and (d) lack of radiologists in several hospitals, rendering the installed equipment worthless. By monitoring the ITs, real needs and win-win actions may emerge in the complex interplay of infrastructural factors.

Reid A.,Curtin University Australia | De Klerk N.H.,University of Western Australia | Magnani C.,University of Piemonte Orientale | Ferrante D.,University of Piemonte Orientale | And 3 more authors.
Thorax | Year: 2014

Background The risk of malignant mesothelioma (MM) increases proportionally to the cumulative exposure, and to the 3rd or 4th power of time since first exposed, to asbestos. However, little is known about the risk of MM after more than 40 years since first exposure because most epidemiological studies do not have follow-up for sufficient periods of time. Methods The data from six cohort studies of exposed workers and two cohorts with residential exposure have been pooled. A nested case control design matched cases and controls on calendar period and age. Conditional logistic regression modelled the relationship between time since first exposure and risk of MM. Results The combined data consisted of 22 048 people with asbestos exposure (5769 women), 707 cases of pleural MM (165 in women) and 155 cases of peritoneal MM (32 in women). Median time since first exposure for pleural MM cases was 38.4 years (IQR 31.3-45.3). Median duration of exposure for pleural MM cases was 3.75 years (IQR 0.7-18.2). The rate and risk of pleural MM increased until 45 years following first exposure and then appeared to increase at a slower power of time since first exposure. The rate of increase in peritoneal MM over the 10-50 years since first exposure continued to increase. Conclusions Exposure to asbestos confers a long-term risk of developing pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma which increases following cessation of exposure. While the rate of increase appears to start to level out after 40-50 years no one survives long enough for the excess risk to disappear.

PubMed | Occupational Health Unit and University of Bari
Type: | Journal: ISRN preventive medicine | Year: 2014

Working conditions in the construction industry have improved in many industrialized countries, but heavy physical work with recurrent exposure to chemical agents, dust, and climatic influences still represents considerable risk for construction workers and may affect their health. The aim of this review is to analyze available data of the literature on allergy-related respiratory and skin disorders with emphasis on a preventive appraisal in order to produce statements and recommendations based on research evidence. The most common agents involved in the construction industry as a cause of occupational asthma (OA) in industrialized countries are isocyanates, wood dust, resins, glues, cobalt, and chromium. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is an immunologic cell-mediated response to a sensitizing agent and the most common sensitizing agents associated with construction workers are epoxy resins, thiurams and thiazoles, and chromates. Medical surveillance must consider individual risk factors such as differences in individual susceptibility and sensitization to agents at workplace. Once work-related disorder is confirmed, adequate fitness for work should be assessed for the worker impaired by health condition. A reliable diagnosis of an index case is a sentinel event that may reveal risks for workers with similar exposure, leading to a revised risk assessment at the workplace that should reduce the risk and prevent further cases.

Girardi P.,Occupational Health Unit | Bressan V.,Occupational Health Unit | Merler E.,Occupational Health Unit
Cancer Epidemiology | Year: 2014

Background Malignant Mesothelioma (MM) is so associated with (professional, familial or environmental) asbestos exposure that trends in incidence and mortality parallel, after 30-40 years, the trend in asbestos consumption. In recent decades, the industrialized countries have witnessed a steady growth of pleural MM (MPM), following a stabilization or decline in rates in the countries that first adopted restrictive policies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the temporal variations of pleural MM incidence in the Veneto Region of Italy in the period 1987-2010. Methods We included only MPM with histological or cytological diagnosis. Age-Period-Cohort (APC) models were used to assess the trend in the incidence of MPM in both genders. Future predictions were evaluated by using a Bayesian APC model. Results In the period 1987-2010, 1600 MPMs have occurred. We observe a positive trend in the incidence in the whole period considered. The APC model showed that in both genders the cohort at higher risk is the one born between the years 1940-1945. Future projections indicate that the trend will decrease after the incidence peak of 2010; yet 1234 men are expected to develop a mesothelioma between 2011 and 2026. Among women, the future MPM rates will be stable or slightly decreasing. Conclusions The asbestos ban introduced in Italy in the year 1992 as a prospective result will certainly determine a decreasing incidence. However, the extremely long latency of MPM means that its influence is not yet observable. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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