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The Toxicity of Precipitated Silica
  1. P. D. Byers,
  2. J. C. Gage
  1. Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith
  2. Imperial Chemical Industries Limited, Industrial Hygiene Research Laboratories


    The proportion of respirable particles in dust clouds generated from three samples of precipitated silica has been shown to range between one-quarter and one-third by weight.

    After a single intratracheal dose of the silicas to rats, chemical analysis shows a progressive disappearance of silica from the lungs, though it is still detectable after 12 months. Some silica appears in the liver and kidneys but in two of the three samples none remains after 12 months.

    The nature and duration of the lung lesions produced in rats after a single intratracheal injection are described. A mild degree of fibrosis was observed which showed a steady regression with time and was to some extent influenced by the nature of the silica injected. The lesions showed little resemblance to those arising from quartz and were more akin to those produced by non-fibrogenic dusts.

    Recommendations are made for the precautions to be taken during the industrial handling of these dusts.

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