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To the Editor:—
An editorial in The Journal, September 23, entitled "Exit Talcum from the Surgical Scene" has provoked considerable comment among industrial hygienists. There you make the statement that "These lesions [the talc granulomas] are permanent because the body does not have adequate reparative power against talcum, which is essentially a silicate and which therefore induces a silicosis."I would question the validity of the assumption that a silicate can cause silicosis, and several people have already written me to protest against your generalization. All experimental evidence derived from study of pure silicates indicates that as a class these minerals do not dissolve within the body to liberate their component silica with resultant fibrosis. In fact, most of the silicates are inert materials and only a few of them, like asbestos and possibly mica, may be irritating because of peculiar physical properties. These experimental results, based on the study
Gardner LU. POWDER FOR SURGICAL GLOVES. JAMA. 1944;126(9):588. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850440060023