Asbestos pulmonary content in workers of Ferrol shipyards, Spain

Carmen Diego, María Isabel Velasco-García, María Jesús Cruz, María Dolores Untoria, Ferran Morell, Jaume Ferrer

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    Background and objective: In the last years, a study is being conducted about exposure to asbestos among shipyards workers in order to know the diagnosis of the diseases associated with the exposure. Our goal was to know the asbestos pulmonary contents in this population. Material and methods: We obtained autopsy pulmonary samples from individuals who had worked in Ferrol shipyards. We analyzed samples from both lungs in most cases. After removing the lung organic matter with sodium hypochlorite, the inorganic residue was analyzed with optic microscopy. Results were expressed as asbestos bodies (AB) per gram of dry tissue. We considered as disease causative levels those above 1,000 AB/g. Results: We studied 30 males, with a mean age of 67 years (r: 56-89 years). Twenty-six were smokers or former smokers, and 4 had never smoked. All had a lung, pleural or peritoneal disease related to asbestos exposure (16 lung cancer, 6 mesothelioma, 25 benign pleural disease). Only in 6 out of the 16 lung cancer cases there was coexisting asbestosis. The median (interval) of AB was 6,171 (249-4,660,059) AB/g. Ninety-seven per cent of individuals had levels above 1,000 AB/g. There was a correlation between AB and age (r =.5676; P =.0011). Conclusions: Workers from Ferrol shipyards who were analyzed had increased pulmonary levels of asbestos. It is essential to raise clinical suspicion of asbestos as a factor that can potentially cause lung disease in this group.© 2012 Elsevier Espana, S.L. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)152-156
    JournalMedicina Clinica
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2013


    • Asbestos
    • Asbestos bodies
    • Lung tissue
    • Optic microscopy


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