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Mineral fibers and dusts in the lungs of subjects living in an urban environment.

Albedi FM; Paoletti L; Falchi M; Carrieri MP; Cassano AM; Donelli G
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108, 1990 Nov; (Pt II):1306-1309
A study of the mineral dust content of the lungs of persons who lived in an urban environment was conducted using tissue taken at autopsy from the right upper lung lobe of 60 persons who had lived in Rome, Italy. The ages at death ranged from 15 to 65 years. Information on smoking history of the subjects was obtained. The lung tissue specimens were analyzed for mineral fibers and dusts by transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis. Total mineral particle concentrations in the subjects ranged from 0.7x10(5) to 1.7x10(5) particles per milligram. These consisted of 52% silicates and crystalline silica (14808607) and 48% heavy metal oxides and sulfates. Fibrous particles were noted in 16% of the subjects and consisted primarily of chrysotile (12001295) and amphibole asbestos (1332214) forms. Small amounts of talc (14807966), rutile (13463677), and calcium-sulfate (7778189) fibers were also noted. The asbestos fiber concentrations ranged from 200 to 300 fibers per milligram and accounted for 0.5 to 1% of the the total particulate burden. Chrysotile was the major type of asbestos, accounting for more than 67% of the fibers. Of the 16 metallic elements observed, aluminum (7429905), calcium (7440702), titanium (7440326), chromium (7440473), and iron (7439896) were the most frequently detected elements; being found in more than 67% of the subjects. The total particulate concentrations tended to increase with increasing age. The severity of anthracosis noted in some specimens tended to increase with age. Total particulate concentrations were higher in tissues from smokers than from nonsmokers. The authors conclude that persons living in urban areas contain significant accumulations of mineral particles in their lungs. These are attributed to exhausts from motor vehicles.
Environmental exposure; Lung tissue; Humans; Postmortem examination; Mineral dusts; Asbestos fibers; Air contamination; Trace analysis; Trace metals; Cigarette smoking
14808-60-7; 12001-29-5; 1332-21-4; 14807-96-6; 13463-67-7; 7778-18-9; 7429-90-5; 7440-70-2; 7440-32-6; 7440-47-3; 7439-89-6
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
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Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108
Source Name
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division