Italian Research Supports Neighborhood Lawsuits Against Asbestos Companies

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. For years, victims of the disease have filed and won multi-million-dollar lawsuits against companies that placed profit over people’s health by including the carcinogenic material in their products despite its risks. Though most of those claims were filed by those who actually worked in asbestos-contaminated settings or with asbestos-infused products, an increasing number of claims are from those who simply lived in close proximity to asbestos plants. Recent research in Italy has supported their claims, pointing to effects and risks that have lasted for decades.

Two Recent Studies Show Asbestos Cement Factories Led to Neighbors’ Mesothelioma

Following discovery of its role in the development of malignant mesothelioma, the use of asbestos was banned in Italy more than thirty years ago. But prior to that time the mineral was widely used, particularly in the fabrication of cement. Most people assume that those at greatest risk for the disease were the factory workers who faced occupational exposure, but two separate studies published in noted environmental health journals have shown that the asbestos that those factories spread into their neighborhood air produced deadly results.

Studies in the journals Environmental Research and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health separately looked at residents who lived in the towns of Broni and Bari. Both towns boasted asbestos cement factories that operated for decades prior to the asbestos ban, and both towns had higher-than-expected rates of mesothelioma among its residents.

Researchers Find High Mesothelioma Burden in Areas Near Asbestos Factories

In their research, scientists found an extra 200 cases of malignant mesothelioma in the small town of Broni, and wrote in the journal Environmental Research, “The mesothelioma burden related to the asbestos cement factory is still high on factory workers, their families, and residents.” Likewise, a study of the larger town of Bari found 71 cases of mesothelioma in residents who had neither worked in its cement factory nor lived with somebody who did. The clear conclusion was that asbestos dust that polluted the air was responsible for their illness.

These findings have worldwide value, as they point to the clear impact of living in close proximity to worksites where asbestos contamination exists. Whether that is a factory, an asbestos mine, or even an area through which asbestos is transported, people who have been exposed to asbestos remain at high risk of being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, even if they had no occupational exposure to the hazardous substance.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need help identifying its source, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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