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Inorganic particulates in pneumoconiotic lungs of hard metal grinders.
  1. J R Rüttner,
  2. M A Spycher,
  3. I Stolkin
  1. Institute of Pathology, University Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland.


    Data from the analysis of lung dust in 16 metal grinders who had been exposed to hard metals between five and 44 years is reported. The mean latent time between the first exposure and analysis in biopsy or necropsy specimens was 33.6 years. Mineralogical and elementary analysis by a variety of techniques showed small or trace amounts of hard metal in all lungs. Many specimens, however, did not contain all hard metal components, cobalt, for example, being detected in four cases only. All the lungs contained quartz and silicates and in most of the necropsy cases carborundum and corundum could also be shown. Histologically no specific pattern was found. The appearances included mixed dust nodular pneumoconiosis, diffuse interstitial lung fibrosis, and foreign body and sarcoid like granulomatous changes. In view of the mixed dust exposure of the hard metal grinders and the variable histological appearance we think that the term "mixed dust pneumoconiosis in hard metal grinders" is more appropriate than "hard metal lung" to describe this condition.

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