Analysis of asbestos bodies in BAL from subjects with particular exposures

Am J Ind Med. 1997 Jun;31(6):699-704. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199706)31:6<699::aid-ajim5>;2-m.


Four patients with asbestos-related diseases and with unusual exposures underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) for mineralogical analysis. Asbestos bodies (AB) were counted by light microscopy and analyzed by transmission electron microscopy and X-ray energy spectrometry. AB's were found in all cases, after a mean delay from the end of exposure of 27.7 years. Analysis of the core fibers indicated the type of alveolar asbestos burden and was compared with the previous exposures: Pleural plaques due to household exposure to amosite and crocidolite. Pleural plaques due to occult occupational exposure to crocidolite in a coal miner. Asbestosis due to environmental exposure to tremolite in Turkey. Asbestosis, pleural plaques, and peritoneal mesothelioma due to a short, intense exposure to crocidolite. AB counting in BAL and identification of the central fibers by analytical electron microscopy is a useful, non-invasive and reliable method to evaluate the alveolar retention of bio-persistent fibers and to relate them to specific exposures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asbestos / analysis*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mineral Fibers / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pleural Diseases / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli


  • Mineral Fibers
  • Asbestos