Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1983;9(2):169-175    pdf


Preliminary results from a cohort of workers exposed to wollastonite in a Finish limestone quarry.

by Huuskonen MS, Jarvisalo J, Koskinen H, Nickels J, Rasanen J, Asp S

Wollastonite metasilicate fibers are rather similar in form, length, and diameter, but mineralogically different, to amphibole asbestos fibers. We have studied immunologic findings from 46 men exposed to wollastonite at a limestone quarry for at least 10 years. These workers showed a higher prevalence of positive serum rheumatoid factors than blood donors did. This finding resembles the one detected among asbestos workers. The group of wollastonite workers with radiological signs of pulmonary fibrosis had activities of serum angiotensin-converting enzyme that were similar to those of wollastonite workers without fibrosis. A mortality study of 238 quarry workers with 5,769 person-years was, as expected, nonpositive. It was interesting that one woman with 20 years of exposure to wollastonite and with no other known exposure to fibers revealed a malignant retroperitoneal mesenchymal tumor 30 years after the initial exposure. This kind of very rare tumor is difficult to distinguish from mesothelioma. However, this is only one case, and it is impossible to draw any definite conclusions.