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Arch Environ Health. 2003 Apr;58(4):229-32.

Pleural mesothelioma cases in Biancavilla are related to a new fluoro-edenite fibrous amphibole.

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  • 1Higher Institute of Health, Rome, Italy.


A cluster of deaths from pleural mesothelioma was previously reported for Biancavilla, Italy, a city in eastern Sicily. An environmental survey suggested that the stone quarries located southeast of the city might be a source of asbestos exposure. The materials extracted from the quarries, used widely in the local building industry, contain large quantities of a fibrous amphibole that was initially referred to as an anomalous intermediate phase of sodium- and fluorine-rich tremolite-actinolite. A subsequent crystal chemistry investigation identified the mineral as fluoro-edenite, a new end-member of the edenite --> fluoro-edenite series. The material is very similar in morphology and composition to the minerals of the tremolite-actinolite series. To the authors' knowledge, fluoro-edenite becomes the 3rd mineral fiber (along with erionite and winchite), not yet classified as asbestos, with a demonstrable mesotheliomatogenous action in humans.

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