Deposition, clearance, retention, and durability of inhaled particles from lungs are known to be important factors for induction of pulmonary fibrosis or lung cancer. To study the deposition and clearance of alumina silicate ceramic fibres from the lung, male Wistar rats were exposed to ceramic fibre particles with a mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) of 4.2 micron, for six hours a day, five days a week for two weeks. The average exposure concentration was 20.7 (standard deviation (SD) 4.5) mg/m3. The rats were killed at one day, three months, and six months after the end of exposure, and the fibre numbers and dimensions were measured with a scanning electron microscope. No significant differences in number and geometric mean length of residual ceramic fibres in the lungs were found between the groups. The geometric mean diameter, however, decreased according to the duration of the clearance period. These findings suggest that solubility of fibre contributes most in the clearance of the inhaled ceramic fibres from the lungs.
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