Asbestos deposits have been used locally by the rural inhabitants of Central and Southeastern Anatolia for domestic purposes for many years. Mineralogical analysis revealed that tremolite is the most prominent asbestos type found in the region. There is in addition another mineral fiber found particularly in three villages located in the Cappadocian region of Central Anatolia (zeolite villages). This is a non-asbestos mineral, which has been identified as the fibrous zeolite, erionite. This fiber is present in the volcanic tuffs, which are used as building stone. Hence, exposure to erionite fibers is always possible in the houses, annexes, and streets of the villages. It has been demonstrated that both asbestos and erionite cause a variety of benign and malignant chest diseases. Among the diseases, calcified pleural plaques (CPP) are the most frequently seen and may be used as an indicator of mineral fiber exposure. Asbestos and erionite exposure are the main causes of mafignant mesotheliomas in Turkey. In zeolite villages malignant mesothelioma is responsible for more than 50% of the total deaths. A recent study showed that simian virus 40 is not a cofactor in the pathogenesis of environmental malignant mesothelioma in Turkey. An additional recent genetic -epidemiological study showed that there are some families, which are genetically predisposed to mesothelioma. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.