Some ILVA cancer risks 306% higher in Taranto, say critics

Mesothelioma leads lymphoma, liver, lung rates

Some ILVA cancer risks 306% higher in Taranto, say critics

(ANSA) - Taranto, September 19 - Critics of the troubled ILVA steelworks in the southern Italian city of Taranto say studies show cancer risks in the area are as much as 306% higher than normal. Angelo Bonelli, president of the Greens, and the President of Peacelink Taranto, Alessandro Marescotti, released a report Wednesday involving health studies in the province of Taranto from 2003-2008. The studies suggested a 24% higher risk than normal for developing cancer of the liver and of the lungs; a 38% heightened risk for lymphoma; and a 306% greater risk for developing a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. This form originates in the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. The cancer can take several decades after exposure to show symptoms. The data came from studies by Italy's Institute of Health, which earlier reported that the area around the steel plant had a mortality rate that was 10% higher than would be expected. Last Friday, prosecutors ordered ILVA - accused of serious environmental and health violations - to scale back production this week while the company upgrades its facilities. Tuesday, ILVA's president submitted the company's plan to clean up the portions of the mill and asked that the areas be kept active. He also presented a 400-million-euro remediation plan that included covering its mineral storage to seal off a major source of toxic dust. Prosecutors in July ordered to shut down parts of the steel plant - one of Europe's largest - and to implement expensive upgrades, a move that the Italian government, the company and unions at the plant have been fiercely fighting. "I can't imagine ILVA closing," said Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri on Tuesday. "If that happens, it would mean closing down half of the country. The problem is being seriously addressed, with guaranteeing employment in mind".

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