Applying Definitions of “Asbestos” to Environmental and “Low-Dose” Exposure Levels and Health Effects, Particularly Malignant Mesothelioma

This review examines the issues of exposure measurement in both animal and human studies, and discusses the impact of these issues on determination of cause for asbestos-related diseases

B. W. Case

2011

Scholarcy highlights

  • More is known about exposure to and disease produced by “asbestos” than for any other toxic material or group of materials
  • The authors thank Dr Phil Cook, Dr Ron Dodson, Dr Ann Aust, Dr Urmila Kodavanti, and Amy Madl for an in-depth review and discussion of this document. This state-of-the-science review document was created in support of the NIEHS workshop “Asbestos: A Science-Based Examination of the Mode of Action of Asbestos and Related Mineral Fibers.” the views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and/or policies of the federal agencies involved in its production
  • The most authoritative source on nomenclature is the International Mineralogical Association, the nomenclature is in the form of “recommendations.” The variation over time makes usage of such definitions problematic for amphibole minerals; for example, amphibole nomenclature has been revised by the IMA Committee on Amphibole Nomenclature three times since 1978
  • Council’s recent review of the NIOSH roadmap for research on asbestos fibers: These changes in mineral names far outpace the ability of the rulemaking and legislative processes in the United States and have caused considerable confusion and misunderstanding, as is evident in recent legal actions relating to asbestos contamination in Libby, Montana., the correct application of IMA amphibole nomenclature . . . requires analytical precision and accuracy that is generally beyond the capability of the standard asbestos analysis methods used for exposure assessment purposes
  • Of particular importance to biological researchers and health scientists, there is a need to understand that there are differences between “cleavage fragments,” “fibers,” and “acicular crystals”, even if those particles cannot always be distinguished during an analysis
  • The combined RR of pleural mesothelioma from household exposure was 8.1
  • The NIOSH Roadmap approach, aims to use the term “elongated mineral particle” to describe all of these particles if specific attributes are applicable to a broad class of particle types
  • This is, one example among many of identification of potential human exposures through use of lung-retained fiber analysis from animal sentinel populations, including goats and cows

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