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Human Health Aspects of Atmospherically Transported Dust, Including Interactions with Asbestiform Minerals and Other Dusts with Physiological Studies: Thomas Zeigler


Project Title: Human Health Aspects of Atmospherically Transported Dust, Including Interactions with Asbestiform Minerals and Other Dusts with Physiological Studies
Mendenhall Fellow: Thomas L. Ziegler, (303) 236-5709
Duty Station: Denver
Start Date: January 2, 2001
Education: Ph.D. (Pharmacology/Toxicology), University of Arizona, 1997
Research Advisors: Geoffrey Plumlee, (303) 236-1204, gplumlee@usgs.gov; Todd Hinkley, (303) 236-5850, thinkley@usgs.gov
Project Description: It is well known that inhalation of asbestiform mineral dust is associated with lung diseases. Such exposure can result in fibrotic plaques resulting in asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma, and bronchogenic carcinoma. However, the mechanisms of disease development following asbestos insult are presently unclear. It is believed that asbestos-related diseases are a result of two mechanisms (A-mechanical, B-intracellular). Evidence in the literature indicates that the potential for these minerals to elicit one or both of these mechanisms may be based on the mineral's size, shape, chemistry and mineralogy. Therefore, it is our goal to combine the characterization and defining these asbestiform minerals with toxicity studies to answer various questions such as those following:
  1. Does each individual asbestos mineral have its own unique mechanism of toxicity?
  2. Does the size, shape, chemistry and mineralogy dictate the type and extent of the toxicological response?
  3. Do non-regulated asbestos fibers present in the environment elicit a toxicological event?
To reach this goal, I have obtained an aliquot of the asbestos standards previously used in toxicological studies (five crocidolites, six chrysotiles, five amosites, four anthophyllites, four tremolites). We are presently characterizing the differences within each group of standards. Future toxicity studies utilizing each group of standards have been proposed to address questions one and two listed above. In concurrence with these studies, I am pursuing research possibilities on the two non-regulated asbestiform minerals richterite and winchite.


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Last modified: 16:08:34 Thu 13 Dec 2012