Asbestos exposure in construction workers remains a particular concern. Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer with a global incidence. Italy is among the countries with the highest values of mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is associated with exposures to asbestos fibers and other asbestiform fibers. Asbestos exposure in construction workers remains a particular concern.
A new study describes the characteristics of Italian malignant mesothelioma cases among construction workers. Scientists analyzed 31,572 cases with definite asbestos exposure in the period from 1993 to 2018.
Connecting Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma in Construction Workers
The relation between asbestos use and the historical trend of mesothelioma is clear. Italian scientists assessed asbestos exposure in 78.2% of the mesothelioma cases. This accounts for 24,864 of the patients studied. All cases were registered by the Italian National Registry of Malignant Mesothelioma.
Occupational exposure has been reported in 17,191 mesothelioma cases. Asbestos exposure in Italian construction workers is severe. In fact, there were 69.1% with definite asbestos exposure. Among them, 3,574 had worked in the construction sector.
The large use of asbestos in the construction sector makes the probability of worker exposure a real concern still today. Particularly for those working in maintenance and removal of old buildings.
There is a clear need to assess, inform, and prevent asbestos exposure in Italian construction workers.
An Italian History of Asbestos Use
Asbestos was largely used in the past in Italy. Over 3,748,550 tons of raw asbestos were produced until 1992. At its peak, there were more than 160,000 tons/year between 1976 and 1980.
However, since the early 1980s strict regulations have led to a reduction of exposure. In 1992, Italy banned asbestos use.
Asbestos has been widely used in building materials. The process of removing it can be difficult. And removal often exposes construction workers to low but still relevant doses of airborne asbestos fibers.
An increased risk of mesothelioma was reported with asbestos exposure. The danger of indirect exposure may have affected several types of workers. This includes carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and welders.
Insurance Claim Education and Training Recommended for Constructions Workers
Scientists from the Italian National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work provide evidence of substantial numbers of asbestos exposure in Italian construction workers.
According to Dr. Alessandra Binazzi of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “There is a need to implement education and training for workers involved in activities such as remedial, maintenance, and building renovations, especially with reference to old buildings.”
Information about insurance compensation claims is not well-known among workers. The level of a compensation claim for mesothelioma is still lower than expected.
Increasing awareness about worker compensation benefits is important.
The systematic surveillance of mesothelioma cases is an important tool for identifying sources of asbestos exposure.
Binazzi, A., Di Marzio, D., Verardo, M., Migliore, E., Benfatto, L., Malacarne, D., … & ReNaM Working Group. (2022). Asbestos Exposure and Malignant Mesothelioma in Construction Workers—Epidemiological Remarks by the Italian National Mesothelioma Registry (ReNaM). International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(1), 235. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010235