The results of analysis of mineral fibres in lung tissues from 10 paraoccupational cases of malignant mesothelioma were compared with analysis obtained from seven cases of malignant mesotheliomas that had developed in gas mask workers. Nine of the paraoccupational cases were considered to have developed their tumours because of exposure to asbestos on their husbands' working clothes and one cancer developed in the daughter of a man who had died of asbestosis. The gas mask workers had direct exposure to asbestos while working in a factory that produced military gas masks. The results of mineral fibre analysis in the paraoccupational cases were variable; six showed high crocidolite concentrations, seven raised amosite concentrations and two normal concentrations of all types of asbestos fibre measured. Chrysotile was raised in one case but crocidolite and amosite were also increased. The gas mask workers showed a consistent pattern with high crocidolite concentrations and normal or low concentrations of chrysotile and amosite. Fibre lengths for chrysotile were similar in both groups and predominantly less than 5 microns. Crocidolite fibres tended to be longer in the gas mask workers than in the paraoccupational group and longer than chrysotile in both groups. Amosite fibres tended to be more variable in width than those of chrysotile or crocidolite.
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