Asbestos fiber preparation methods affect fiber toxicity

TitleAsbestos fiber preparation methods affect fiber toxicity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSalamatipour A, Mohanty SK, Pietrofesa RA, Vann DR, Christofidou-Solomidou M, Willenbring JK
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology Letters
Date Published2016/07

To measure the toxic potential of asbestos fibers—a known cause of asbestosis, lung cancer, and malignant mesothelioma—asbestos minerals are generally first ground down to small fibers, but it is unknown whether the grinding condition itself changes the fiber toxicity. To evaluate this, we ground chrysotile ore with or without water for 5–30 min and quantified asbestos-induced reactive oxygen species generation in elicited murine peritoneal macrophages as an indicator of fiber toxicity. The toxicity of dry-ground fibers was higher than the toxicity of wet-ground fibers. Grinding with or without water did not materially alter the mineralogical properties. However, dry-ground fibers contained at least 7 times more iron than wet-ground fibers. These results indicate that grinding methods significantly affect the surface concentration of iron, resulting in changes in fiber-induced reactive oxygen species generation or toxicity. Therefore, fiber preparation conditions should be accounted for when comparing the toxicity of asbestos fibers between reported studies.

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