Previous animal experiments with asbestos dusts have been almost entirely confined to chrysotile asbestos. It was, therefore, decided to investigate the effects of mill dusts from the three types of asbestos that are produced commercially in South Africa, namely chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. Chrysotile and amosite samples were relatively pure while in contrast the crocidolite dust was found to consist mainly of ironstone and silica and contained less than 10% of asbestos fibre. Guinea-pigs, Vervet monkeys, and rabbits were exposed to these dusts. The results were assessed on histological criteria. It was found that, in all three species of animals, the amosite dust produced more marked lesions than the chrysotile and that these lesions occurred at an earlier period. It was not possible to compare these lesions with those caused by the crocidolite dust, owing to its impure nature. It was noted, however, that this dust caused severe lesions in guinea-pigs and monkeys and that the animals in this group succumbed more readily to respiratory infections.
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