Research Article

Mesotheliomas and asbestos type in asbestos textile workers: a study of lung contents.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 285 doi: (Published 28 August 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;285:603
  1. J C Wagner,
  2. G Berry,
  3. F D Pooley


    The asbestos contents of the lungs of former employees of an asbestos textile factory were determined at necropsy using a transmission electron microscope. Those who had died of mesothelioma were compared with a matched sample of those who had died of other causes. The predominant fibre processed in the factory was chrysotile, but crocidolite had also been used. The lung content was consistent with the known exposure to chrysotile, but the crocidolite content was also high, being about 300 times that of the general population of the United Kingdom. The lungs of those with mesothelioma did not contain more of either chrysotile or crocidolite than the lungs of the controls, so no particular type of asbestos could be implicated in causing the mesotheliomas. The evidence of substantial exposure to crocidolite means that the mesotheliomas that occurred in this factory could not be attributed with any certainty to the exposure to chrysotile.