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1.  Comparative study of the smooth muscle contractor activity of airborne dusts and of dustiness in cotton, flax, and jute mills. 
A bioassay technique using isolated guinea-pig ileum was employed to compare the smooth muscle contractor activity of various dusts from mills in which the prevalence of byssinosis was known. The activity of dust from a mill spinning a coarse grade of cotton was several times greater than that in dust from a mill processing a fine grade of cotton. There was a similar order in the difference of the prevalence of byssinosis in these mills. However, the activities of fine cotton, flax, and jute dusts were very similar to each other, in spite of marked differences in the prevalence of byssinosis in these mills. For cotton dust, smooth muscle contractor activity was associated with all particle sizes, although the lowest level of activity was found in the largest sized fraction (less than 2 mm). Activity in the cotton dust extracts was not correlated with nitrogen, carbohydrate, or potassium content. However, about one-fifth of the activity of a cotton dust extract was associated with an insoluble particulate fraction. The possible chemical nature of the water-soluble contractor agent is discussed. It is concluded that, until the role of this agent in the pathogenesis of byssinosis has been established, the bioassay technique cannot be employed as a means of assessing the byssinogenic potential of cotton dust.
PMCID: PMC1008078  PMID: 1201255
2.  A study of Spanish sepiolite workers. 
Thorax  1993;48(4):370-374.
BACKGROUND--Sepiolite is an absorbent clay that is used as pet litter. It forms thin crystals, which are a transition between chain and layered silicates. Inhalation studies in animals have shown no evidence of pulmonary damage. This paper reports a cross sectional study of the total work force of the largest sepiolite production plant in the world. METHODS--Two hundred and eighteen workers (210 men and eight women) were studied. Height, age, and smoking history were recorded. Chest radiographs were read according to the International Labour Office (ILO) classification by two readers. Readings were used to construct a numerical score, which was then used in statistical analyses. Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were divided by the square of the height. Casella size selective personal samplers were used in randomly selected operatives to collect dust eight years before the rest of the study was carried out. These samples were evaluated gravimetrically. Total dust samples were examined by optical and electron microscopes. Results were analysed by bivariate linear regression, chi 2 tests, and analysis of variance. RESULTS--When allowance was made for smoking habit workers exposed to dry dust showed a significantly greater decline in FEV1 with age than workers with little exposure to dry dust. A similar pattern applied to FVC. Radiographic score showed deterioration with age but no clear differences from other variables. High concentrations of dust were found in the bagging department and also in the classifier shed. CONCLUSIONS--The major finding was that lung function deteriorated more rapidly in those who had had more exposure to dust, but there was no evidence of any accompanying radiographic change.
PMCID: PMC464435  PMID: 8511734
3.  Erionite exposure and mesotheliomas in rats. 
British Journal of Cancer  1985;51(5):727-730.
Epidemiological and environmental surveys in the Cappadocian region of Turkey have linked the high incidence of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma in the occupants of some villages with the zeolite fibres released from the locally occurring volcanic tuff. In view of the low ambient fibre concentrations and the extraordinary incidence of mesothelioma a study to test the hypothesis of high biological activity for the zeolite fibres was required. Experimental studies using both intrapleural inoculation and inhalation techniques have been undertaken with the erionite from this region and from Oregon in the United States. Additionally a non-fibrous zeolite from Japan and a synthetic non-fibrous zeolite of similar chemical composition to erionite have been included in the experiments. In these studies the samples from Oregon and Turkey produced a very high incidence of tumours. All the rats inoculated intrapleurally with Oregon erionite and almost all those inoculated with the Turkish fibre died with a mesothelioma. Inhalation of the Oregon erionite induced a similar effect. No other dusts we have investigated have produced this high incidence of tumours particularly following inhalation. These studies demonstrate that we now have a valuable new fibre for experimental study and a possible hazard to man in regions other then Turkey.
PMCID: PMC1977068  PMID: 2986668
4.  In vitro genotoxic activities of fibrous erionite. 
British Journal of Cancer  1983;47(5):697-705.
A high incidence of mesothelioma has been reported from some villages in Cappadocia, Turkey. This type of cancer is usually associated with the inhalation of asbestos, but on the basis of the most prevalent fibre in the dust from these villages, the Turkish outbreak has been attributed to the inhalation of zeolite fibres. A counter hypothesis, based on the detection of very small quantities of chrysotile and tremolite in strata samples and human lung tissue, postulates a significant role of these minerals as one of several factors contributing to pleural disease. A respirable fraction of erionite, (from Oregon, USA, but with similar characteristics to the fibres found in Turkey), has some in vitro genotoxic properties associated with many conventional carcinogens. In this study these fibres caused an increase in morphological transformation and unscheduled DNA repair synthesis (UDS) in C3H10T1/2 cells and UDS in the human lung cell line--A549. It is therefore suggested that exposure to fibrous erionite alone may be sufficient to cause the high incidence of pleural tumours observed in Turkey.
PMCID: PMC2011392  PMID: 6303378
5.  Environmental history of a factory producing friction material. 
The fibre concentrations generated during the production of friction materials, incorporating asbestos, over the past 60 years have been studied to provide cumulative dust exposure data for a mortality study of the work-force. Chrysotile has been used almost exclusively during this period. The measurements made routinely by the factory staff provided information from 1950 onwards; concentrations for earlier years were derived from simulation studies using original materials, machines, and methods. These have shown that while high concentrations prevailed in the earliest years dust suppression measures initiated in 1931, and other factors, reduced the time-weighted average concentrations to moderate levels. There were two four-year periods when the production of brake blocks incorporating crocidolite occupied a well-defined area of the factory. The simulation of this production was not permissible, but the employees concerned could be identified.
PMCID: PMC1009110  PMID: 6297534
6.  The Effects of the Inhalation of Asbestos in Rats 
British Journal of Cancer  1974;29(3):252-269.
Two experiments in which SPF Wistar rats were exposed by inhalation to dust clouds of the UICC standard reference samples for periods of between one day and 2 years are described. All the samples of asbestos produced asbestosis which continued to progress after removal from exposure but only a little fibrosis was observed in control rats. Lung tumours, ranging in severity from adenomata to squamous carcinomata, were produced by all samples but in the controls there were only a few adenomata and none of the more serious tumours. Of the 20 tumours which metastasized, 16 occurred after exposure to one or other of the 2 chrysotile samples. In addition, a total of 11 mesotheliomata occurred, 4 of which were with crocidolite and 4 with Canadian chrysotile. Two of the mesotheliomata occurred with only one day's exposure to asbestos. There was a positive association between asbestosis and lung tumours.
PMCID: PMC2009089  PMID: 4364384
This paper gives the results of a small environmental, symptomatic, and respiratory function study of byssinosis in a rope factory. An attempt was made to relate the changes in ventilatory function during the working day to the differing dust concentrations within the factory. The tests used included the forced expiratory volume, the forced vital capacity, and, in half the subjects, other derivatives of the forced expiratory spirogram. The inspiratory airways resistance was measured by the interrupter technique.
Measurements were made at the beginning and end of a working shift on either a Monday or a Tuesday in 44 subjects, of whom 22 were in a relatively dusty part of the factory and 14, involved in making wire rope, were exposed to very little dust.
None of the subjects had symptoms of byssinosis, but significant falls were found in the F.E.V.1·0, F.V.C., and other derivatives of the forced expiratory spirogram in those in the dusty parts of the factory. There was some evidence that the peak flow rate, the maximal mid-expiratory flow, and similar indices might be a little more sensitive as measures of the acute changes in ventilatory capacity during the day than the F.E.V.1·0 and F.V.C. There were no significant changes in the airways resistance by the interrupter technique but the results were rather variable.
The fall in ventilatory capacity during the day was not greater in those with symptoms of chronic cough and sputum than in those without, nor did it seem to be related to smoking, but the number of subjects studied was small.
PMCID: PMC1008298

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