Bioassays for Mineral Dusts and Other Particulates
It is important to predict the risk of human pulmonary disease caused by exposure to complex and often poorly characterized dusts. Such dusts may arise in the workplace when new technologies are introduced or old ones modified; they also occur in urban environments for example, due to changes in patterns of energy utilization. Risk assessment may include: (1) air monitoring and characterization of collected dusts; (2) epidemiologic studies of humans in urban and especially work environments; (3) chronic animal studies; (4) short term animal bioassays; and (5) in vitro tests of mammalian cells. A range of approaches is needed because of the difficulty of the problem. We are not dealing with a well-characterized, uniform work environment. Rather, we are confronted with an array of complex mixtures that produce a panorama of responses. In addition, unstudied exposures are inevitably created by the opening of new mines or factories and by the application of new machines and processes. Economic pressures, innovation, and health considerations generate new problems. This paper will emphasize the fourth method of analysis and discuss the use of animal bioassay systems to determine the health effects of particulates. Before doing that, let us briefly delineate some of the limitations of other approaches.
KeywordsCombustion Surfactant Toxicity Quartz Dust
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