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October 28, 1944


JAMA. 1944;126(9):588. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850440060023

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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

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