Epidemiological research as a driver of prevention: the Sibaté study


Although asbestos exposure and risks can be prevented, only five countries in Latin America have banned asbestos, including Colombia. Beginning in 2011, a collaboration between the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Italy and Universidad de los Andes in Colombia was established, bringing together relevant expertise aiming to improve our understanding of the asbestos problem. An important result of this collaboration was a recently published study conducted in Sibaté, Colombia, a municipality where an asbestos-cement facility has operated since 1942. The evidence collected suggests the presence of a mesothelioma cluster in Sibaté. Landfilled zones with an underground layer of friable asbestos were also discovered in the urban area of the municipality. The importance of this type of collaboration can go beyond understanding the impact of asbestos at the local level, which is crucial, and may also contribute in solving unanswered questions of the problem in countries that banned asbestos decades ago.


asbestos; Colombia; international cooperation; mesothelioma; global public health

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