An asbestos hazard in the reprocessed textile industry

Am J Ind Med. 1987;11(3):255-66. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700110303.


Epidemiologic studies have identified an excess risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma among workers in the reprocessed textile industry in Prato, Italy. These studies suggested that there may have been asbestos hazard in this industry although exposure was not known to exist. An industrial hygiene investigation was conducted to determine whether there was previous or current asbestos exposure in the industry. Walk-through surveys, environmental sampling, process documentation, and management and worker interviews were conducted in 13 textile reprocessing establishments. Polypropylene bags that once contained asbestos were found in 2 of the 13. Asbestos bags were cut open and used to cover bales of rags which were then distributed throughout the world. Workers were exposed to asbestos while handling the bags which were contaminated with chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. Additional sources of asbestos exposure that may have existed in the past in the industry are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Textile Industry*


  • Asbestos