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Am J Epidemiol. 1989 Jun;129(6):1187-200.

Ten-year mortality study of the population involved in the Seveso incident in 1976.

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Institute of Occupational Health, Clinica L. Devoto, Universita' degli Studi, Milano, Italy.


In 1976, an accidental explosion in a plant near Seveso, Italy, caused the contamination of a populated area by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). The area was subdivided into three zones (A, B, and R) having decreasing mean levels of TCDD soil contamination. This study examines the mortality between 1976 and 1986 among the subjects, aged 20-74 years, who were resident in the area since the accident (n = 556 in zone A, n = 3,920 in zone B, n = 26,227 in zone R). Subjects' exposure was classified by residence. A referent cohort of 167,391 subjects who lived in the immediate surroundings was concurrently examined. Vital status ascertainment was successful for over 99% of the subjects. Increased mortality from cardiovascular causes was found; incident-related stressors were considered more relevant to increased mortality than was TCDD exposure. Mortality from several cancers was elevated. The increases in biliary cancer (females), brain cancer, and lymphatic and hemopoietic neoplasms (particularly leukemia in males) did not appear to result from chance, confounding, or information/comparison bias. However, no definite patterns related to exposure classification were apparent. Merely suggestive increases in soft tissue tumors and melanoma were also noted. Liver and breast cancer mortality tended to be below expectations. Interpretation is hampered by the short observation period, small number of deaths from certain causes, and poor exposure definition. Further research is in progress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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