Author(s): Mastrangelo G, Marangi G, Ballarin MN, Bellini E, De Marzo N,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract BACKGROUND: Italian law requires an extensive health surveillance of workers after cessation of their employment status in the case of occupational exposure to carcinogens, including asbestos. Nonetheless, Italian law does not specify the timeframe of these clinical checks, nor who has financial and organizational responsibility for this surveillance. A literature search confirmed a lack of consensus around the objectives and methods to follow up workers with past occupational exposure to asbestos. OBJECTIVES: To develop an updated evidence-based methodology for an appropriate health surveillance programme. METHODS: We present an overview of the field experience developed by the Veneto Region from 2000 to 2011, and new studies that could contribute to establishing a national policy for the medical surveillance of workers with past asbestos exposure. RESULTS: There were three specific topics: (1) definition of a reliable method to identify asbestos workers (through multiple sources and procedures that meet current confidentiality regulations); (2) detection of asbestos fibres in biological media (to support the etiological diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases); (3) creation of a national protocol of health surveillance (through the assessment of policies developed by other Regions in this field, and recruiting from these regions a cohort of past-exposed workers: the epidemiological study should offer relevant suggestions for specific surveillance approaches, based on either estimated cumulative asbestos exposure or detection of x-ray patterns of pleural plaques and/or asbestosis). CONCLUSIONS: These studies will support the Regions in setting up health care policies directed at workers with past asbestos exposure.
This article was published in Med Lav
and referenced in Epidemiology: Open Access