Asbestos: scientific developments and implications for public policy

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Science  19 Jan 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4940, pp. 294-301
DOI: 10.1126/science.2153315


Asbestos is a commercial term for a group of fibrous minerals often associated with the development of pulmonary interstitial fibrosis (asbestosis), lung cancer, and malignant mesothelioma in occupationally exposed individuals. The pathogenicity of different forms of asbestos varies--long, thin amphibole fibers are most pathogenic, particularly in the induction of mesothelioma. Available data do not support the concept that low-level exposure to asbestos is a health hazard in buildings and schools. The concentration of asbestos fibers in air, type of asbestos, and size of fibers must be considered in evaluation of potential health risks.

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