Italian death-rate higher in industrial areas

World health organisation finds 2.6% excess mortality in heavily industrialised regions

Death rates are significantly higher in Italy's most industrialised regions, the World health organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday. Revealing the results of epidemiological research commissioned by the Italian environment ministry, WHO representatives described the findings as "worrying".

Covering the period 1990 to 1994, the WHO study compared death rates in 15 heavily industrialised areas, which account for 20% of Italy's population, against those in less industrialised but otherwise similar reference areas. It found a 2.6% excess death rate where industry was concentrated, reporting just over 800 extra deaths per year over the study period.

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