Four cases of mesothelioma in a cohort of 999 Finnish anthophyllite miners and millers are described. Three deaths were due to pleural mesothelioma and one to peritoneal mesothelioma among the total of 503 male deaths up to 1991. All four patients with mesothelioma had had long term (13 to 31 years) exposure in anthophyllite mining and milling. The latency time from the onset of employment until diagnosis was 39 to 58 years. All four patients were smokers or ex-smokers and had asbestosis. In three of the cases the pulmonary fibre concentration and fibre type were analysed by transmission electron microscopy. High concentrations (270 to 1100 million fibres/g dry tissue) of anthophyllite fibres were detected. The anthophyllite fibres were thicker and had lower aspect ratios than the values reported for crocidolite fibres retained in the lungs of patients with mesothelioma.
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