This study provides an understanding of the biokinetics and potential toxicology in the lung and pleura following inhalation of brake-dust (brakes manufactured with chrysotile). The design included a 28-day repeated multi-dose inhalation exposure (6h/d, 5 d/wk, 4 wks) followed by 28-days without exposure. Fiber control groups included a similar grade chrysotile as used in the brakes and a commercial crocidolite asbestos.
Aerosol fiber distributions of the chrysotile and crocidolite were similar (fiber-length>20μm/cm3: Chrysotile-low/high 42/62; Crocidolite-low/high 36/55; WHO-fibers/cm3: Chrysotile-low/high 192/219; Crocidolite-low/high 211/255). The total number of aerosol particles/cm3 in the brake-dust was similar to that in the chrysotile (Brake-dust 710–1065; Chrysotile 532–1442).
Brake-dust at particle exposure levels equal to or greater than chrysotile or crocidolite caused no indication of microgranulomas, epithelial hyperplasia, or fibrosis (Wagner score<1.7) or changes in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) indices from the air control. Chrysotile BAL indices did not differ from the air control. Pathologically, there was low level of inflammation and epithelial hyperplasia, but no fibrosis (Wagner score≤3). Crocidolite induced elevated neutrophils and cell damage (BAL), persistent inflammation, microgranulomas, and fibrosis (Wagner scores 4) which persisted through the post exposure period.
Confocal microscopy of snap-frozen chestwalls showed no difference between control, brake-dust and chrysotile-HD groups or in thickness of visceral or parietal pleural. The crocidolite exposure resulted in extensive inflammatory response, collagen development and adhesions between the visceral and parietal surfaces with double the surface thickness. These results provide essential information for the design of a subsequent subchronic study.