In designing a study to evaluate the inhalation biopersistence of a chrysotile asbestos that was used as a component of a joint-compound, a feasibility study was initiated to evaluate the short-term biopersistence of the chrysotile alone and of the chrysotile in combination witht the sanded reformulated joint-compound.
Two groups of Wistar rats were exposed to either 7RF3 chrysotile ( Group 2) or to 7RF3 chrysotile combined with aerosolized sanded joint-compound ( Group 3). In addition, a control group was exposed to filtered-air. The chrysotile used in the Ready Mix joint compound is rapidly removed from the lung.
The chrysotile alone exposure group had a clearance half-time of fibers L>20 mu m of 2.2 days; in the chrysotile plus sanded exposure group the clearance half-time of fibers L > 20 mu m was 2.8 days. However, across all size ranges there was approximately an order of magnitude decrease in the mean number of fibers remaining in the lungs of Group 3 as compared to Group 2 despite similiar aerosol exposures.
Histopathological examination showed that the chrysotile exposed lungs had the same appearance as the filtered-air controls.
This study uniquely illustrates that additional concurrent exposure to an aerosol of the sanded joint-compound, with large numbers of fine-particles depositing in the lungs, accelerates the recruitment of macrophages, resulting in a tenfold decrease in the number of fibers remaining in the lung. The increased number of macrophages in the chrysotile/sanded joint exposure group was confirmed histologically, with this being the only exposure-related histological finding reported.