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Presence of stable coal radicals in autopsied coal miners' lungs and its possible correlation to coal workers' pneumoconiosis.
Dalal-NS; Jafari-B; Petersen-M; Green-FH; Vallyathan-V
Arch Environ Health 1991 Nov; 46(6):366-372
An attempted was made to correlate the concentration of stable coal radicals (SCRs) present in the lung tissue with coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) disease pattern, severity of CWP, cancer of the lung, smoking, and type of coal exposure. Lung tissue samples were obtained from 98 coal miners and 11 non coal miners (referents) through autopsy. The results of the electron spin resonance (ESR) studies provided evidence for the presence of SCRs embedded in the lung tissue even after years of residence in the lung. The mean concentration of SCRs in the lung tissues of miners with 30 years of coal mining exposure was 5.3x10(17) spins/gram versus referents who had nondetectable levels. Significantly higher concentrations of SCRs were found in coal miners' lungs associated with an exposure history in the anthracite regions of northeastern Pennsylvania. Normally, organic radicals such as those generated by fracture of the coal would have short lifetimes. However, their lifetime may be extended because they are stabilized within the coal particles. Because coal is porous, the possibility of reactivity with these entrapped SCRs cannot be ruled out. These entrapped SCRs might indeed by involved in the biochemical reactions of coal that result in lung injury. The authors suggest the ESR methodology can be useful in providing quantitative measurements of coal dust load and distinguishing between anthracite and bituminous coal mine exposures.
NIOSH-Author; Mining-industry; Underground-miners; Coal-dust; Tissue-distribution; Lung-tissue; Cigarette-smoking; Postmortem-examination; Respiratory-system-disorders; Occupational-exposure
Issue of Publication
Archives of Environmental Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division