Mesothelioma in Agriculture in Lombardy, Italy: An Unrecognized Risk

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 5;18(1):358. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18010358.


Cohort studies showed consistently low risks for malignant mesothelioma (MM) among agricultural workers, however the investigated exposures did not include asbestos. Our aim is to describe sources of asbestos exposure of MM in agriculture. Twenty-six MM cases in agricultural or seed trades workers were identified through the MM registry of the Lombardy region, Italy in 2000-2016. Asbestos exposures were investigated through a standardized questionnaire. The most frequent exposure circumstances were recycled jute bags previously containing asbestos (11 cases) and maintenance and repair of asbestos roofs (12 subjects). Three subjects performed maintenance and repair of tractor asbestos brakes and two used asbestos filters for wine production. Our data suggest asbestos exposure opportunities in the agricultural setting, underlining the need to look for this exposure in subjects affected with mesothelioma.

Keywords: agriculture; asbestos exposure; malignant mesothelioma; occupational cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Agriculture*
  • Asbestos* / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma* / chemically induced
  • Mesothelioma* / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*


  • Asbestos