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Medicina y Seguridad del Trabajo

On-line version ISSN 1989-7790Print version ISSN 0465-546X


PIETROPAOLI, Antonello; BASTI, Federico; VEIGA-ALVAREZ, Álvaro  and  MAQUEDA-BLASCO, Jerónimo. Handling fiberglass at workplaces, potential health effects and control measures (Review). Med. segur. trab. [online]. 2015, vol.61, n.240, pp.393-414. ISSN 1989-7790.

Abstract: Among other applications, the use of glass fibre instead of asbestos, drastically contributed to reduce not only the mesothelioma incidence but also the other pathologies associated to its use. According to recent studies it could be that the manipulation is not exempt from the risks. Methodology: a bibliographic scientific literature review was recently published in the main biomedical bibliographic databases. Results: Since inhaling is the major organism entry route, its main health effects impact on the airwaves. Its pathogenic capacity depends on its chemical composition, the size, the biopersistence and the fibres concentration in the ambient. Conclusions: Although many authors seem to coincide that 475-glass fibre and E-glass fibre do represent a higher risk of developing fibrosis or lung cancer in animals, there is a controversy when interpreting the results in the experimental study. Most of the human studies reveal do not connect* between the asbestos exposure to the lung fibrosis or to the lung capacity decrease, which are more related to tobacco consumption. A possible association with particular cancers of the respiratory system it is not clearly verified. Although such discovery is just to be confirmed due to the lack of elements, according with recent investigations on cytotoxic and genotoxic effects, the MMFA, with a dimeter less than 3mm and more than 5 mm length, can induce variations in alveolar epithelia cells line, A549, from humans with oxidative stress and membrane lipid peroxidation.  Concerning current evidences, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) includes the continuous filament glass fibres and glass wool, rock wool and slag wool fibres in group 3 -unclassifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans and in group 2 the refractory ceramic fibres (RCF) as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Keywords : Glass fibre; refractory ceramic fibres; health, risks; labour; occupational; prevent; toxicity; contamination; ambient.

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