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Mortality patterns of rock and slag mineral wool production workers: an epidemiological and environmental study.
Robinson CF; Dement JM; Ness C; Waxweiler RJ
Br J Ind Med 1982 Feb; 39(1):45-53
Chronic health effects and mortality due to rock-mineral-wool and slag-mineral-wool were studied in factory workers. Fiber samples were collected on filters, counted, sized, and analyzed by phase contrast optical microscopy; 10 percent by transmission electron microscopy. Bulk sample fiber diameter distributions were compared after sizing randomly selected fibers by phase contrast microscopy. Work history of 250 production workers was reviewed; they were divided into eight exposure groups according to job. About 75 percent of airborne fibers were less than 3.5 micrometers in diameter. Three percent of all inhaled airborne mineral-wool fibers in this plant were estimated to have been deposited in the lungs and roughly 60 percent of the fibers from the current spinning process would be cleared from the lungs to the gastrointestinal tract. Average airborne fiber concentrations were 2.5 fibers per cubic centimeter before 1935 and 1.0 fibers per cubic centimeter afterwards due to engineering controls. Mortality due to digestive system cancer increased, as well as non-malignant respiratory disease, in employees with over 20 years exposure to mineral-wool or who lived 20 years after their first exposure. Incidences of lung cancer, diseases of central nervous system and heart were recorded. The authors conclude that an association between mineral-wool and carcinogenicity and nonmalignant respiratory disease can not be ruled out yet.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-medicine; Minerals; Industrial-factory-workers; Health-surveys; Fibrous-bodies; Mineral-processing; Mortality-rates; Epidemiology
Issue of Publication
British Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division