Analytical Transmission Electron Microscopy of Amphibole Fibers From the Lungs of Quebec Miners

Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health 2015 [Link]

Germine M, Puffer JH.


The objective of this study is to describe the morphology, molecular structure, and chemistry of amphibole fibers from lung samples from workers in the chrysotile mines at Asbestos and Thetford Mines, Quebec. A fibrous tremolite-actinolite contaminant in an asbestos ore sample from the deposit at Asbestos was used for comparison. Lattice imaging was performed using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Silica-rich amorphous coatings (SIRA) that may be related to carcinogenesis are noted on all of the HRTEM photographs of fibers retained in lung, but not on fiber surfaces of the bulk comparison sample. Fibers found in lung samples and in a bulk comparison sample are produced primarily by splitting of thicker crystals and, as such, might not be considered asbestos fibers on the basis of certain mineralogical criteria. Implications of SIRA coatings with respect to carcinogenesis are worthy of further study.