Send to

Choose Destination
J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2001 Apr;14(4):232-6.

The potencial role of rare earths in the pathogenesis of interstitial lung disease: a case report of movie projectionist as investigated by neutron activation analysis.

Author information

Institute of Occupational Health, University of Brescia, Italy.


A 60-year-old male subject who worked as a movie projectionist and who was exposed for 12 years to rare earths (RE) containing dusts from cored arc light carbon electrodes was investigated. Chest X-ray films and pulmonary function tests showed an interstitial lung disease, emphysema and a severe obstructive impairment with marked decrease of carbon monoxide diffusion capacity. The histological examination of a transbronchial biopsy confirmed the diffuse interstitial lung fibrosis. Neutron activation analysis (NAA) of the biopsy showed concentrations of cerium (Ce), lanthanum (La), neodimium (Nd), samarium (Sm), terbium (Tb) and ytterbium (Yb) which were high compared to the corresponding elements in the transbronchial biopsies of 5 unexposed subjects as a control group. Thorium (Th) (which is generally present as an impurity of the RE compounds) was also determined in order to estimate the radiation dose in the lung of the worker. On the basis of the clinical observations, of the analytical results by neutron activation analysis of RE and of the presence of Th in the transbronchial biopsy, as well as of the differential diagnosis, which tended to exclude other occupational or non-occupational lung diseases, a relation between the observed interstitial lung fibrosis and occupational exposure to RE is highly probable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center