In Italy, there are numerous places that are contaminated by pollutants, the land of the Fire, famously known as ‘Terra dei Fuochi’. Recently, the well-known area in Campania, between the provinces of Caserta and Naples, is the “model” for criticism that brought to light the phenomenon of illegal spills of toxic waste. The point is that, after this issue has been discovered, much remains to be done to take care of it, as underlined by the oncologist and Professor Antonio Giordano, Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University Philadelphia and Founder of Sbarro Health Research Organization.
Professor Antonio Giordano explained in detail to Fortune Italia how contaminated sites are numerous and diffuse across the Italian peninsula. The toxic waste is of different types, for example, asbestos, pfas, heavy metals, chemicals, and others. A few years ago the Ministry of Environment and Health commissioned Professor Giordano the design a biomonitoring plan and “ad hoc” solutions.
“The fact is –,” Professor Antonio Giordano continues, “- that the contaminated land has not yet been decontaminated, and the peak of diseases linked to pollution has not yet reached. We now know that in some areas of Italy, not only in Campania but also in Piedmont, Lombardy, Puglia, a segment of the population, seemingly healthy, is susceptible to developing a series of pathologies including cancer.” Veneto is also on the list of contaminated areas dealing with Pfas contamination (perfluoroalkyl substances).
So, what are the priorities for the area that you call ‘the land of the fire’?’ we asked to Professor Giordano during our interview.
As stated by Professor Antonio Giordano, it is necessary to monitor the transformation in the DNA of the population exposed in order to prevent critical diseases. These contaminations affect the environment and therefore animals and plants as well, as in fact Professor Adriana Basile, Faculty of Biology of Naples, has demonstrated this in a published work showing that in these affected areas the levels of heavy metals are the same in humans as in mosses.
“The well-known definition “Terra dei fuochi” or “Land of fires” has certainly generated awareness of this environmental pollution. Now with the PNRR, there are resources. We are aware of the different sites from various parts of the country, and therefore now our priorities are very clear: Not forget the territories affected and their population, concludes Professor Antonio Giordano.