Taranto pays the highest price for the legacy left by the notorious Italian steal plant, Ilva: among children aged 0-14 years who live in Taranto, “we have observed significant excesses in respiratory diseases: especially among children living in the Drums neighborhood observes a 24% excess of hospitalizations”; a percentage that rises “to 26% among the minor residents of Paul VI neighborhood.”
The situation is describe in the report submitted by the Apulia region on the effects produced over decades of pollution due to the steel plant. The study – carried out as part of the activities of the Centre for Health and Environment of the Apulia Region, in collaboration with the Epidemiology Department of the Regional Health Service of the Lazio region, the ASL of Taranto, Puglia Arpa and Ares Puglia – point out a “cause-effect relation between industrial emissions and damage to health.”
The regional government
The presentation took place in Bari and was attended by the President of the Puglia Region, Michele Emiliano, who said that “today, we have a special council meeting in which we will have to consider whether to challenge the last Ilva decree before the Constitutional Court. This day begins with an examination of the data and continues with the technical and legal assessment on the possible infringement of the powers of the Puglia Region as a result of this decree.”
The studied sample consists of 321,356 residents between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2010 in the cities of Taranto, Massafra, and Statte. All the subject were followed until 31 December 2014 or until the date of their death or emigration. Every individual, on the basis of their residence address, was assigned a level of exposure to the source of pollution in accordance with the models of dispersion in the atmosphere of the pollutants chosen as tracers (PM10 and SO2, that is, particulate matter and sulfur dioxide). Both pollutants, among the most exposed citizens (concentration of 10 micrograms per cubic meter), are responsible for new cases of lung cancer: + 29% caused by dust and 42% by sulfur dioxide. The report also showed that exposure to industrial dust is responsible for 4% higher mortality. In particular, deaths cases due to lung cancer has increased by 5%; the percentage rises to 10% when it comes to myocardial infarction. As to mortality due to sulfur dioxide, they registered a 9% increase, in particular 17% due to lung cancer and 29% due to myocardial infarction.