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Sept 18, 1967


JAMA. 1967;201(12):966-967. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130120074023

For some time it has been known that industrial exposures to asbestos dust are associated with certain cancers and with fibrotic changes in the lung. Recently, investigators have demonstrated that persons in urban areas without industrial contact probably also have exposure to asbestos. In one study, 48% of necropsies performed on adults in four hospitals in Montreal showed the presence of asbestos bodies in the lung.1 The source of the asbestos dust producing these bodies is presumably the disintegration of materials containing asbestos, such as brake linings, clutch facings, and asbestos shingles and sidings, and, within modern structures, insulating materials used in heating and cooling systems and, ceiling and floor tiles.

Granted that there is some asbestos dust in our environment, the question is whether the concentration of dust is significant in the etiology of disease. This question assumes particular importance in the light of probable increases in the