Effects of the inhalation of dusts from calcium silicate insulation materials in laboratory rats

Environ Res. 1986 Feb;39(1):26-43. doi: 10.1016/s0013-9351(86)80005-6.


The effects of respirable dust from three commercially produced calcium silicate insulation materials were examined in laboratory rats by long-term inhalation and injection techniques. These calcium silicate products have been used as replacements for asbestos in the insulation of the engine rooms of ships, and the particle size distribution of the dust clouds generated for the experimental study closely matched those found in ships during the installation of this type of material. One year of exposure to a dust cloud of 10 mg/m3 of respirable dust had no discernible effect on the length of survival of treated animals compared to controls. No pulmonary lesions were found that appeared associated with the inhalation of calcium silicate per se, but one sample did contain significant amounts of quartz and this did produce a few small pulmonary nodules. While two small pulmonary neoplasms, one malignant and one benign, were found in dusted animals, neither was the cause of death, and the incidence was not significantly different from the control group where no tumors were found. One peritoneal mesothelioma was found in an animal from one of the inhalation groups, but this was considered to be a spontaneous tumor as none of over 100 animals injected intraperitoneally with 25 mg of calcium silicate developed these tumors. While the white blood cell count of dusted animals, compared to controls, was significantly raised in all treated groups at the end of the dusting period, these figures were within the published normal ranges for laboratory rats. It was concluded that the three tested calcium silicate products were harmless to the rats of this species at the doses tested.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Calcium Compounds*
  • Construction Materials / adverse effects*
  • Dust / adverse effects*
  • Dust / analysis
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Rats
  • Silicates*
  • Silicic Acid / metabolism
  • Silicic Acid / toxicity*
  • Silicon Dioxide / toxicity*


  • Calcium Compounds
  • Dust
  • Silicates
  • Silicic Acid
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • calcium silicate