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Biopersistence of man-made vitreous silicate fibers in the human lung.

Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Health Perspectives
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


There is now a substantial body of experimental data on the pulmonary biopersistence of man-made vitreous silicate fibers (MMVSF), but human data are seriously lacking. Our knowledge in this field is essentially limited to a few reports of measurements of fibers retained in lung tissue samples taken at autopsy from workers manufacturing these products. Three types of exposure were studied: fibrous glass, mineral wool, and refractory ceramic fibers. Overall, the available data do not provide evidence for substantial long-term retention of fibers in the human lung after occupational exposure to MMVSF dusts. A word of caution, however; the amount of data supporting the previous statement is much greater for fibrous glass than for either mineral wool or refractory ceramic fibers. There is no human data on the key question of the kinetics of pulmonary clearance of inhaled MMVSF.

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