Background. A mesothelioma cluster in Biancavilla (Sicily, Italy), drew attention to fluoro-
edenite, a fibre classified by International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogenic
to humans. Significant excesses in mortality and morbidity were observed for respiratory
diseases and a significant excess of pneumoconiosis hospitalizations was reported.
Objective. Aim of this study is to assess the characters of the lung damage in Biancavilla
residents hospitalized with pneumoconiosis or asbestosis diagnoses.
Methodology. Medical records, available radiographs and computed tomography scans
were collected. The obtained imaging was reviewed by a panel of three specialists and
focused on pleural and parenchymal abnormalities. Cases with an ILO-BIT or ICOERD
score equal or greater than 2 were considered positive for a pneumoconiosis-like damage,
cases with a score lower than 2 or insufficient quality of imaging were considered inconclusive. If no pneumoconiotic aspects were present the cases were classified as
Results. Out of 38 cases, diagnostic imaging for 25 cases were found. Ten cases out of 25
showed asbestosis-like features, nine subjects were considered negative. In six patients’
results were inconclusive.
Conclusions. Asbestosis-like features were substantiated in Biancavilla residents without
known occupational exposure to asbestos. Further studies to estimate population respiratory health are required. Experimental studies on the fibrogenic potential of fluoro-edenite are needed.