Introduction. Amphibolic fibres with fluoro-edenitic composition characterize Biancavilla soil, including the major quarry from which building materials have been extensively extracted. These fibres induce mesothelioma in experimental animals and their in vitro biological action is similar to that of crocidolite.
Materials and methods. Malignant mesothelioma case series and incidence were examined to evaluate the disease burden on Biancavilla inhabitants.
Results. The incidence of pleural mesothelioma in Biancavilla is steadily higher than in the Sicilian Region, risk estimates are more elevated in women than in men, the most affected age class is constituted by subjects aged less than 50.
Discussion and conclusions. Environmental exposure to fibres with fluoro-edenitic composition appears to be causally related to the elevated mesothelioma occurrence in Biancavilla. In this frame, environmental clean-up is the main goal to be pursued in public health terms. A contribution of scientific research to public health decision making with respect to priority setting for environmental clean-up can derive from some further selected epidemiological investigations.