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Cancer risk to allergy patients from syringes with asbestos-wound plunger.
JAMA J Am Med Assoc 1973 Jul; 225(4):423
A question was raised concerning the possible hazards associated with the fragmenting of the asbestos (1332214) winding about the plunger tip of syringes used in allergy desensitization treatments. The concern was that these fragments would contaminate the allergy extract that was being injected and perhaps cause cancer at some later time in the patient. The possibility that a study might exist which would show that recipients of allergy desensitization injections had a higher incidence of neoplasia was raised. The replies to this question indicated that no studies existed to document a carcinogenic risk from the asbestos contamination of the fluid being injected for allergy desensitization shots. However, parenteral and subcutaneous injections of supposedly significantly greater amounts of asbestos in experimental animals have produced neoplasms. It has also been demonstrated that subcutaneously injected asbestos fibers migrate to other tissues. Mention was made also of the fact that some cases of mesotheliomas, both pleural and peritoneal, have been reported in the literature of unknown origin and yet there was an assumption of asbestos exposure in extremely minute amounts. The authors recommend that the use of syringes with asbestos wound plungers should be abandoned.
Lemen; NIOSH-Author; Carcinogenesis; Cancer-rates; Risk-factors; Asbestos-products; Medical-treatment
Issue of Publication
Journal of the American Medical Association
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division