Erionite-induced pleural plaques : Exposition to urban pollution in a female Turkish migrant in Germany

Der Chirurg. 2008 May 29. [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Gräsel B, Kaya A, Stahl U, Rauber K, Kuntz C.

Klinik für Allgemeine, Viszerale und Onkologische Chirurgie, Klinikum Wetzlar-Braunfels, Forsthausstraße 1–3, 35578, Wetzlar, Deutschland,


Erionite is a zeolite mineral of volcanic origin which contains no asbestos. It is found in different regions of the world, including southeast Turkey in ash and dust, from which it can cause inflammatory pleural plaques or malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). We report a female Turkish migrant exposed to urban pollution in her home country who decades later suffered from pleural plaques with a nonspecific chronic inflammatory disease. The differential diagnosis of inflammatory pleural plaques was assumed radiologically and confirmed by video-assisted thoracoscopic biopsy. Short-term clinical and radiologic control of the patient will be necessary because of the risk of MPM. For epidemiologic considerations discussed referring to current literature, a growing incidence of this type of disease in migrants from high-risk areas must be reckoned with in Germany, even without exposition to asbestos.

Keywords: Erionite – Migrants – Pleural plaques – Malignant pleural mesothelioma – Incidence