Measurements were made of the asbestos fibre and dust content of samples from 96 surgically excised lungs; 42 necropsies on patients with lung cancer, 11 necropsies on patients with non-pulmonary malignancies, and 59 necropsies on patients without any malignant disease. The patients' ages ranged from 45 to 74 years at the time of study. None of the patients had asbestosis. The distribution of fibres and dust content of the lungs showed a log-normal distribution. There was no significant difference in fibre counts or dust content between men and women, and between lung cancer and non-cancer patients. The only group with an association with a high asbestos fibre count was four necropsy cases of pleural mesothelioma. There was no significant relationship between asbestos fibre count and dust content of the lung. The present data suggest that asbestos fibre counts below 100,000 per gram of dried lung are not related to specific asbestos disease, although in the surgical cases who were closely questioned on their residential and occupational histories most of those with fibre counts above 30,000 per gram dried lung had had occasions of definite or very likely asbestos exposure.
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