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Content archived on 2024-05-07

Certification of Reference Materials for the Analysis of Asbestos Fibres in Lung Tissue


International trials have revealed serious discrepancies in electron microscopic methods used for the determination of asbestos fibres in lung tissue. Reliable results are of crucial importance for the diagnosis and compensation of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

This project will produce two batches of dry, homogenized lung tissue with a certified content of asbestos fibres. The objective is to reduce the current interlaboratory inaccuracy of several-fold differences to the same level as the inevitable variation (less than 50 %) caused by different sampling sites when tissue samples are taken during autopsy or surgery from various parts of the lungs.
A feasibility study including preparation, homogeneity and stability tests has been completed in 1996. Scanning electron microscopic counting showed no inhomogeneity of the asbestos concentration and the matrix composition was homogenous as verified by iron and zinc analyses. The storage stability was good for samples stored at -20(C, +20(C and +40(C. In a preliminary comparison, the interlaboratory variation was less than 35 % for anthophyllite, amosite and crocidolite fibres longer than 1 micrometer. The certification measurements are in progress.
After the homogeneity and stability of dry tissue powder have been tested, the materials will be packed into glass vials as 100 mg units. The content of asbestos fibres will be determined by transmission electron microscopy in the eight participating laboratories.

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Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
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Topeliuksenkatu 41 A
00250 Helsinki

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