The Labin Region, an ecologically vulnerable geographical area in Croatia: Mortality characteristics in an area polluted by industrial over a 40-year period

Submitted: 18 February 2022
Accepted: 28 March 2022
Published: 17 May 2022
Abstract Views: 637
PDF: 297
HTML: 38
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


The history of the Labin region in Croatia includes intensive industrial development with repercussions of pollution on environment and health. Assuming that prolonged exposure to polluted environments causes qualitative changes in mortality, the aim was to analyse the mortality characteristics of the population of the Labin Region for the 1968-2008 period based on data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics. Public health and social opportunities in this geographical area carry a long-term burden of exposure to an industrial polluted environment with outcomes expressed by mortality or/and morbidity in the population. This study includes data on 11,903 deaths, most of which due to diseases of the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems as well as neoplasms. In the third and fourth decade of the study period, a group of neoplasms showed significant increases, while the increase in respiratory diseases were more gradual. The female population died mostly from diseases of the circulatory and endocrine system as well as neoplasms, while the male population mainly died from diseases of the digestive system and external causes. This research provides guidelines that could create better public health, raising the quality of life and contribute to a future environmental protection in local communities by targeted policies.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


Ahmad NA, Ismail NW, Ahmad Sidique SF, Mazlan NS, 2021. Air pollution effects on adult mortality rate in developing countries. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 28:8709-21. DOI:
Baldacci S, Gorini F, Santoro M, Pierini A, Minichilli F, Bianchi F, 2018. Environmental and individual exposure and the risk of congenital anomalies: a review of recent epidemiological evidence. Epidemiol Prev 42:1-34. h
Boogaard H, Walker K, Cohen AJ, 2019, Air pollution: the emergence of a major global health risk factor. Int Health 11:417-21. DOI:
Briggs D, Corvalan CF, Nurminen M (Eds.), 1996. Linkage methods for environment and health analysis: general guidelines. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Buterin T, Doričić R, Eterović I, Muzur A, Šantić M, 2021. Javnozdravstvena perspektiva utjecaja industrijskog onečišćenja na globalno zatopljenje i pojavnost zoonoza. Šumarski List 145:63-9. DOI:
Cortes-Ramirez J, Naish S, Sly PD, Jagals P, 2018. Mortality and morbidity in populations in the vicinity of coal mining: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 18:721. DOI:
Cattell RB, 1966. The scree test for the number of factors. Multivar Behav Res 1:245-76. DOI:
Di Q, Wang Y, Zanobetti A, Wang Y, Koutrakis P, Choirat C, Dominici F, Schwartz JD, 2017. Air pollution and mortality in the medicare population. N Engl J Med 376:2513-22. DOI:
Doričić R, Ćorić T, Tomljenović M, Lakošeljac D, Muzur A, Kolarić B, 2018. Mortality characteristics of two populations in the Northern Mediterranean (Croatia) in the period 1960-2012: an ecological study. Int J Environ Res Public Health 15:2591. DOI:
European Commission, 2018. Science for environment policy. What are the health costs of environmental pollution? Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, Issue 21. Available from:
García-Pérez J, López-Cima MF, Pollán M, Pérez-Gómez B, Aragonés N, Fernández-Navarro P, Ramis R, López-Abente G, 2012. Risk of dying of cancer in the vicinity of multiple pollutant sources associated with the metal industry. Environ Int 40:116-27. DOI:
Genowska A, Jamiołkowski J, Szafraniec K, Stepaniak U, Szpak A, Pająk A, 2015. Environmental and socio-economic determinants of infant mortality in Poland: an ecological study. Environ Health 14:61. DOI:
Geološka građa Istre. Geotech. Available from:
Hendryx M, Conley J, Fedorko E, Luo J, Armistead M, 2012. Permitted water pollution discharges and population cancer and non-cancer mortality: toxicity weights and upstream discharge effects in US rural-urban areas. Int J Health Geogr 11:9. DOI:
Juginović A, Vuković M, Aranza I, Biloš V, 2021. Health impacts of air pollution exposure from 1990 to 2019 in 43 European countries. Sci Rep 11:22516. DOI:
Kodrić-Šmit M, Pajtlar-Gaćeša S, 2007. Studija procjene mogućeg utjecaja ekoloških čimbenika na zdravstveno stanje stanovništva Sisačko-moslavačke županije. Zavod za javno zdravstvo Sisačko-moslavačke županije, Sisak.
Kopal M, Karaman N, Pauletić E, 1993. Gospodarska slika i naznake gospodarskog razvitka Istre. Društvena istraživanja 2:723-46.
Licul R, 1989. Bibliografija o Labinštini. Labinska komuna, Labin.
Lillini R, Tittarelli A, Bertoldi M, Ritchie D, Katalinic A, Pritzkuleit R, Launoy G, Launay L, Guillaume E, Žagar T, Modonesi C, Meneghini E, Amati C, Di Salvo F, Contiero P, Borgini A, Baili P, 2021. Water and soil pollution: ecological environmental study methodologies useful for public health projects. A literature review. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 256:179-214. DOI:
Lipfert FW, Wyzga RE, 1995. Air pollution and mortality: issues and uncertainties. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 45:949-66. DOI:
Mataloni F, Stafoggia M, Alessandrini E, Triassi M, Biggeri A, Forastiere F, 2012. A cohort study on mortality and morbidity in the area of Taranto, Southern Italy. Epidemiol Prev 36:237-52.
Matošević A, Baćac E, 2015. Kamena vuna prijepora. Suživot s tvornicom Rockwool na Pićanštini. Etnološka tribina 45:139-49. DOI:
Medunić G, Ahel M, Mihalić IB, Srček VG, Kopjar N, Fiket Ž, Bituh T, Mikac I, 2016a. Toxic airborne S, PAH, and trace element legacy of the superhigh-organic-sulphur Raša coal combustion: Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity assessment of soil and ash. Sci Total Environ 566-567:306-19. DOI:
Medunić G, Rađenović A, Bajramović M, Švec, M, Tomac M, 2016b. Once grand, now forgotten: what do we know about the superhigh-organic-sulphur Raša coal? RGN zbornik 31:27-45. DOI:
Medunić G, Mondol D, Rađenović A, Nazir S, 2018. Review of the latest research on coal, environment, and clean technologies. RGN zbornik 33:13-21. DOI:
Medunić G, Grigore M, Dai S, Berti D, Hochella MF, Mastalerz M, Valentim B, Guedes A, Hower JC, 2020. Characterization of superhigh-organic-sulfur Raša coal, Istria, Croatia, and its environmental implication. Int J Coal Geol 217:103344. DOI:
Mišetić A, Miletić G-M, Smerić, T, 2008. Lokalna javnost i energetski projekti u Hrvatskoj. Rezultati empirijskog istraživanja stavova lokalne javnosti iz okolice TE Plomin. Socijalna ekologija 17:343-59.
Mohorovic L, 2003. The level of maternal methemoglobin during pregnancy in an air-polluted environment. Environ Health Perspect 111:1902-5. DOI:
Mohorovic L, 2004. First two months of pregnancy - critical time for preterm delivery and low birthweight caused by adverse effects of coal combustion toxics. Early Hum Dev 80:115-23. DOI:
Mohorovic L, Petrovic O, Haller H, Micovic V, 2010. Pregnancy loss and maternal methemoglobin levels: an indirect explanation of the association of environmental toxics and their adverse effects on the mother and the fetus. Int J Environ Res Public Health 7:4203-12. DOI:
Mohorović L, 2014a. Utjecaj produkata sagorijevanja ugljena na tijek i ishod trudnoće u mikroregionalnim uvjetima, in: Socijalna Komponenta Zdravstvene Zaštite Labina: Višestoljetna Bitna Sastavnica Zdravstvenog i Općeg Napretka. Zigo, Rijeka, 125-133 pp.
Mohorović L, 2014b. Interakcija socioekonomskih čimbenika i motiviranost žena Općine Labin u planiranju obitelji, in: Socijalna Komponenta Zdravstvene Zaštite Labina: Višestoljetna Bitna Sastavnica Zdravstvenog i Općeg Napretka. Zigo, Rijeka, 101-111 pp.
Mrđen S, 2000. Mortality Trends in Croatia from 1950 to 1998. Croat Geogr Bull 62:25-41.
Naik GR, (Ed.) 2018. Advances in principal component analysis: research and development. 1st Edition, Springer, Singapore. DOI:
Pascal M, Beaudeau P, Medina S, Hamilton NC, 2019. Global change: a public health researcher’s ethical responsibility. Curr Envir Health Rpt 6:160-6. DOI:
Peršić L, Čiček J, Jovanović M, Jovanović Z, Kervatin A, Starc N, Rimac Ž, Jeftić L, 1984. Mjesto i uloga zdravstvene djelatnosti u studijama utjecaja na okolinu, s posebnim osvrtom na utjecaj Termoelektrane Plomin I i procjenu utjecaja Termoelektrane Plomin II, in: Maretić Z (Ed.), Zbornik Dani Primarne Zdravstvene Zaštite Labin. Dom zdravlja Labin, Labin, 33-39 pp.
Peršić L, Materljan E, Kervatin A, Faraguna M, Rimac Ž, Martinčić B, Materljan B, 1985. Proučavanje zdravstvenog stanja stanovništva Općine Labin u dvije zone s obzirom na onečišćenje zraka (preliminarni rezultati), in: Maretić Z (Ed.), Zbornik Dani Primarne Zdravstvene Zaštite Labin. Dom zdravlja Labin, Labin, 49-54 pp.
Peters A, Skorkovsky J, Kotesovec F, Brynda J, Spix C, Wichmann HE, Heinrich J, 2000. Associations between mortality and air pollution in central Europe. Environ Health Perspect 108:283-7. DOI:
Prüss-Üstün A, Wolf J, Corvalán C, Bos R, Neira M, 2016. Preventing disease through healthy environments. A global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks, Second Edition. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Purković D, Runko Luttenberger L, Kovačević S, 2021. The importance of technology in education for sustainable development. Knowl Int J 46:111-7.
Ratkajec H, 2014. Prostorni vidici industrijalizacije u Istri od 1918. do 1940.: primjeri razvoja rudarske industrije i industrije građevnih materijala. Časopis za suvremenu povijest 46:319-39.
Remoundou K, Koundouri P, 2009. Environmental effects on public health: an economic perspective. Int J Environ Res Public Health 6:2160-78. DOI:
Skoko B, 2014. Radiološki utjecaj otpada termoelektrane na ugljen na okoliš (Doktorska disertacija). Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Fakultet kemijskog inženjerstva i tehnologije, Zagreb.
Sofilić T, 2015. Zdravlje i okoliš. Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Metalurški fakultet, Sisak.
Stemberger H, 1983. Labinska povijesna kronika. Radničko sveučilište - Narodni muzej Labin; Katedra Labinske republike; Turistički savez općine Labin, Labin.
Tomić Z, Jerabek J, Myllyvirta L, 2013. Skriveni troškovi ugljena: Posljedice izgaranja ugljena na zdravlje ljudi i gospodarstvo. Prikaz slučaja - planirana termoelektrana Plomin C u Hrvatskoj.
Vinšćak T, 1999. Iz tradicijske baštine središnje Istre. Studia Ethnologica Croatica 10/11:75-88.
Vorano T, 1998. Istarski ugljenokopi. Četiri stoljeća rudarenja u Istri. Istarski ugljenokopi Tupljak d.d., Labin.
Wang Q, Yang Z, 2016. Industrial water pollution, water environment treatment, and health risks in China. Environ Pollut 218:358-65. DOI:
WHO, 2018. Health, environment and climate change: report by the Director-General. World Health Assembly, No. 71. World Health Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland.
Zupanc I, 2004. Demogeografski razvoj Istre od 1945. do 2001. Hrvatski geografski glasnik 66:67-102. DOI:

How to Cite

Buterin, T., Doričić, R., Broznić, D., Ćorić, T., & Muzur, A. (2022). The Labin Region, an ecologically vulnerable geographical area in Croatia: Mortality characteristics in an area polluted by industrial over a 40-year period. Geospatial Health, 17(1).