Methods of isolation and analysis of dust from pneumoconiotic lungs are reviewed, and the results of lung dust analyses for different forms of pneumoconiosis are presented.
A tentative classification separates beryllium, aluminium, abrasive fume, and asbestos, which cause interstitial or disseminated fibrosis from quartz, coal, haematite, talc, kaolin, and other dusts, which cause a nodular or focal fibrosis which may change to forms with massive lesions. The data suggest that in the first, but not in the second, group the dusts are relatively soluble; only in the second group do amounts of dust and severity of fibrosis go in parallel for a given form of pneumoconiosis. In classical silicosis the quartz percentage is higher and the amount of total dust much lower than in coal-miners' pneumoconiosis. Mixed forms of both groups occur, for instance, in diatomite workers. The need for more research, especially in the first group, is pointed out.
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