Inhalation studies on the effects of tremolite and brucite dust in rats

J.M Davis, J Addison, R E Bolton, Ken Donaldson, A D Jones, B. G. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Samples of commercially used asbestos, especially chrysotile, are frequently contaminated by small amounts of other fibrous minerals. Among these are tremolite and brucite although pure tremolite is also produced commercially in relatively small quantities. In order to determine how harmful commercially exploited tremolite might be in comparison with other asbestos types and to explore the possibility that small amounts of tremolite and brucite as contaminants could significantly affect the pathogenicity of industrially used chrysotile, long-term animal inhalation and injection studies using rats were undertaken with what were considered to be mineralogically pure samples of these minerals. Rats treated with tremolite developed very high levels of pulmonary fibrosis as well as 16 carcinomas and two mesotheliomas in a group of 39 animals. Tremolite thus proved to be the most dangerous mineral that we have studied. Animals treated with 'brucite' developed moderate levels of pulmonary fibrosis and two carcinomas. Both tremolite and brucite produced mesotheliomas in greater than 90% of animals following i.p. injection. However, it was found that the supposedly pure brucite in fact contained 10% chrysotile, a level of contamination that could well have been responsible for the pathological changes found in both inhalation and intraperitoneal injection studies. The greatest care should be exercised by industry in handling tremolite or materials contaminated with it
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-74
Number of pages8
JournalCarcinogenesis
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1985

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