Objectives: Malignant mesothelioma is closely associated to asbestos exposure. One such exposure may occur through contact with occupationally exposed household members and their belongings. This study examines the features of pleural mesothelioma attributable only to asbestos brought home by another family member.
Material and methods: The data sources were 1063 mesothelioma cases diagnosed between 1995 and 2014, from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Mesothelioma Register. In all cases the diagnosis of mesothelioma was based on the pathology report. Exposure information and demographic data were acquired by an occupational medical standardized questionnaire/interview.
Results: Household-exposure mesothelioma cases included 33 women and 2 men. Relationships were: wives (N = 22), daughters (N = 9), sons (N = 2), and mothers (N = 2). Asbestos exposure in the workers predominantly occurred in shipyards. Out of the 35 pleural cases, 19 were epithelial, 9 biphasic, 3 sarcomatoid, and 4 not specified. The mean age at diagnosis was 77 years old. The mean latency was 59 years, with wives having a significant shorter latency than offspring. Latency was not significantly related to morphology and asbestosis. The overall mean survival was 16 months (median 11 months) but treatment was beneficial (mean 16 months vs. 7 months). Biphasic/sarcomatoid histology and presence of asbestosis were associated with a decreased survival, although not with statistical significance.
Conclusions: Our data confirms that household exposure increases the risk for pleural mesothelioma amongst women with no history of occupational asbestos exposure. This is an ongoing problem in many countries, as well as in Italy, where the evaluation of a framework for the compensation of these cases is under debate. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2017;30(3):419-431.
Keywords: asbestos workers; family members; household exposure; latency time; mesothelioma register; pleural mesothelioma.
This work is available in Open Access model and licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 PL license.