Environmental fibrous zeolite (erionite) exposure and malignant tumors other than mesothelioma

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 1996;15(2-4):183-9.


We studied the mortality in three villages in the Cappadocian region of Central Anatolia, Karain, Tuzköy, and Sarihidir, which were exposed to fibrous zeolite (erionite), a known carcinogen more potent than the amphibole asbestos. Between 1970 and 1994, there were 305 deaths in Karain, and 177 (58%) were cancer related, including 150 (49.2%) malignant pleural mesothelioma, seven (2.3%) malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, and six (1%) gastroesophageal carcinoma. Four deaths (1.3%) from lung cancer included two nonsmoking females. There were three cases (1%) of leukemia and six of other malignancies (1.9%). Between 1980 and 1994, there were 519 deaths in Tuzköy (T) and Sarihidir (S) (T = 432, S = 87). Of these, 257 were cancer related, and included 120 cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma and 64 cases of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Intraabdominal carcinoma was noted in 29 patients and 14 patients had lung cancer (four of whom were nonsmoking women). There were five cases of gastroesophageal cancer, five deaths due to leukemia, and 16 cases of various malignancies. These mortality figures support the hypothesis that erionite fibers cause cancer other than mesothelioma and lung cancer. Mineralogic analyses of the tissues should be performed to demonstrate this relationship.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Turkey
  • Zeolites / adverse effects*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • erionite
  • Zeolites