TABLE 3.3Mineralogic Properties in Relation to Pathogenesis

Mineralogical Property Potential Relationship to Pathogenesis
Particle size
  • Penetration and deposition in lung
  • Dissolution and chemical reactions between mineral particle and fluid are influenced by surface area per mass of particles
  • Ability of cells to phagocytize particle
Particle shape
  • Particle fate and transport (such as translocation)
  • Relative proportions of different structural surfaces exposed to fluids and cells
  • Ability of cells to clear particle by phagocytosis
  • Particle removal (chrysotile can dissolve appreciably in human time scales, whereas amphibole cannot)
  • Change in particle shape or surface structures, leading to alteration in other mineral-fluid interactions
  • Change in fluid chemistry by release of metals and other mineral components to fluid
  • Change in particle shape and/or surface structures, leading to alteration in other mineral-fluid interactions
  • Mineral surfaces can serve as catalysts for reactions between fluid constituents by changing their effective concentration or by changing their physical orientation to one another (latter is relevant only for molecules)
Ion exchange
  • Buffering of activity for aqueous species, such as Na+, K+, and Ca2+
Acid-base catalysis
  • Mineral surfaces can transfer protons with fluid constituents
  • Mineral surfaces can transfer electrons with fluid constituents

From: 3, Background Information on Asbestos

Cover of Asbestos
Asbestos: Selected Cancers.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Asbestos: Selected Health Effects.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006.
Copyright © 2006, National Academy of Sciences.

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