Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

October 1994


Lung burden analysis was performed on 126 autopsy cases of persons who died in New York City from 1966 through 1968. Of the 126 cases, 107 were probably non-occupationally exposed, judging by occupational history and asbestos body content of lung. Fifty-three of the 107 cases contained short chrysotile fibers/fibrils, < 5 microns in length, present in 3-fold greater amounts than were found in laboratory background controls. The fiber concentrations ranged from 1.8 to 15.7 x 10(6) f/gm/dry lung tissue, and the proportion of fibers > or = 5 microns in length was only 0.34% of the total chrysotile population found. Other inorganic particles present included fragments of amphiboles. In contrast to these data, the lung parenchyma of persons occupationally exposed to asbestos commonly showed the presence of other fiber types, especially amosite and crocidolite, at very much higher concentrations and greater fiber length. Any chrysotile present would usually be in fiber bundle form, with both fibers and fibrils > 5 microns in length. Comparison of the lung fiber content of occupationally exposed persons with that of the general population showed marked qualitative and quantitative differences. Fibers are durable, and are retained in a range of concentrations. Their length and dose, among other factors, which control their biological potential are different in the two populations; the risk factors for chrysotile-induced disease are not the same. Images Figure 1. A Figure 1. B Figure 1. C


This work was originally published in Environmental Health Perspectives.



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