Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Mortality from cancer and other causes in the Balangero cohort of chrysotile asbestos miners
  1. E Pira1,
  2. C Pelucchi2,
  3. P G Piolatto1,
  4. E Negri2,
  5. T Bilei1,
  6. C La Vecchia2,3
  1. 1
    Dipartimento di Traumatologia, Ortopedia e Medicina del Lavoro, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy
  2. 2
    Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”, Milan, Italy
  3. 3
    Istituto di Statistica Medica e Biometria “G. A. Maccacaro”, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Claudio Pelucchi, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”, Via Giuseppe La Masa 19, 20156 Milan, Italy; pelucchi{at}


Objectives: To provide further information on mortality from cancer and other causes among chrysotile asbestos miners several years after exposure ceased, we updated the analyses from the Balangero mine worker cohort with follow-up to the end of 2003.

Methods: The cohort included 1056 men, for a total of 34 432 man-years of observation. We obtained employment data from factory personnel records, and ascertained vital status and causes of death through population registers and death certificates from municipal registration offices. We computed expected numbers of deaths and standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) for relevant causes using the province of Turin and national death rates, for each 5-year calendar period and age group.

Results: We found a significant excess mortality from pleural cancer only (4 deaths, SMR 4.67) and pleural and peritoneal cancers combined (5 deaths, SMR 3.16). All pleural and peritoneal cancer deaths occurred 30 or more years after first exposure. The SMRs were 1.27 for lung cancer (45 deaths), 1.82 for laryngeal cancer (8 deaths) and 1.12 for all cancers (142 deaths). Cumulative dust exposure and the various time factors considered did not show a clear pattern of risk associated with mortality from lung cancer. There were 57 deaths from cirrhosis (SMR 2.94) and 54 from accidents and violence (SMR 1.88). Overall, we observed a total of 590 deaths as compared to 412.9 expected (SMR 1.43).

Conclusions: This updated analysis, with almost 60% of the cohort having died, confirmed the excess mortality from pleural and peritoneal cancers and from several alcohol-related causes.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding This work was partly funded by the Italian Association for Research on Cancer.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.