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Electron microscope characteristics of inhaled chrysotile asbestos fibre
  1. F. D. Pooley
  1. Department of Mineral Exploitation, University College, Cardiff


    Pooley, F. D. (1972).Brit. J. industr. Med.,29, 146-153. Electron microscope characteristics of inhaled chrysotile asbestos fibre. Specimens from 300 lungs have been examined under the electron microscope to determine the morphology and diffraction characteristics of any chrysotile asbestos they contained. In 120 cases, material was prepared by alkali digestion and the residual dust was examined. In all cases standard 6-micron histological slides were partially ashed before the residue was transferred to the electron microscope grids. Of the 300 specimens examined, 20 came from men with prolonged industrial exposure to chrysotile, 87 from cases of mesothelioma, and the remainder from control groups drawn from rural and industrial populations.

    Chrysotile fibres were readily identified by the characteristic polycrystalline diffraction pattern. The hollow appearance of the single fibres and their shape and arrangement also help in the identification. Specimens from men without industrial exposure contained either single short fibres or aggregates scattered throughout the lungs. In specimens from industrially exposed men, fibres were very numerous and found as strands of single fibres mainly grouped together in discrete locations. Ferruginous bodies were found rarely and only on straight fibre bundles of over several micrometers in length.

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