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Guidelines For Mineral Fibre Analyses In Biological Samples: Report Of The ERS Working Group. European Respiratory Society.

P. de Vuyst, A. Karjalainen, P. Dumortier, J. Pairon, E. Monso, P. Brochard, H. Teschler, A. Tossavainen, A. Gibbs
Published 1998 · Medicine

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Microscopic techniques for analysing asbestos fibres in lung tissue and bronchoalveolar lavage have provided major information in the understanding of asbestos-related diseases. These analyses are increasingly applied for clinical work and medicolegal problems. Differences in sampling, preparation and counting techniques, definitions of reference populations and expression of results have caused major difficulties in comparing results from different laboratories. Therefore it appeared necessary to set a goal to harmonize these analyses between the European laboratories active in this field. This article summarizes the work of a European Respiratory Society working group with participation from nine European laboratories. The five main issues touched upon are: 1) definitions of control populations and reference levels; 2) sampling, preparation and analytical techniques; 3) asbestos fibres in lung tissues in different pathologies; 4) asbestos bodies in lung tissue, bronchoalveolar lavage and sputum; and 5) basis for the interpretation of fibres and asbestos bodies in biological samples. These guidelines indicate the crucial importance of several factors for the interpretation of the results; namely, adequate sampling, comparable analytical procedures and expression of the results, the use of well-defined reference populations, and a comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting the fibre retention and the dose-responses associated with the different asbestos-related diseases.
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