We reviewed the certificates of 39,650 deaths which occurred in the period 1975-1988 in Leghorn and of 45,900 in La Spezia (Italy) in the period 1958-1988. In total 262 cases have been recorded as pleural mesothelioma. The main occupational exposures occurred in the shipbuilding industry. Regarding non-occupational exposures to asbestos, 13 cases of mesothelioma were found in women who had washed the work clothes of their relatives at home; we also found other domestic uses of asbestos which were rarely or never discussed previously in the literature: six cases might be explained by the installation of fireproof or non-conductive materials in the domestic environment. These exposures probably are more frequent than realized until now.