Erionite exposure and mesotheliomas in rats

Br J Cancer. 1985 May;51(5):727-30. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1985.108.


Epidemiological and environmental surveys in the Cappadocian region of Turkey have linked the high incidence of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma in the occupants of some villages with the zeolite fibres released from the locally occurring volcanic tuff. In view of the low ambient fibre concentrations and the extraordinary incidence of mesothelioma a study to test the hypothesis of high biological activity for the zeolite fibres was required. Experimental studies using both intrapleural inoculation and inhalation techniques have been undertaken with the erionite from this region and from Oregon in the United States. Additionally a non-fibrous zeolite from Japan and a synthetic non-fibrous zeolite of similar chemical composition to erionite have been included in the experiments. In these studies the samples from Oregon and Turkey produced a very high incidence of tumours. All the rats inoculated intrapleurally with Oregon erionite and almost all those inoculated with the Turkish fibre died with a mesothelioma. Inhalation of the Oregon erionite induced a similar effect. No other dusts we have investigated have produced this high incidence of tumours particularly following inhalation. These studies demonstrate that we now have a valuable new fibre for experimental study and a possible hazard to man in regions other then Turkey.

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Silicates / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Asbestos / toxicity
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite
  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / chemically induced*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Zeolites


  • Aluminum Silicates
  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite
  • Zeolites
  • Asbestos