A Review of the Toxicology and Epidemiology of Wollastonite

Authors: Maxim, L.1; McConnell, E.2

Source: Inhalation Toxicology, Volume 17, Number 9, August 2005 , pp. 451-466(16)

Publisher: Informa Healthcare

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Wollastonite is a naturally occurring calcium silicate (CaSiO 3 ) that is produced in both powder and fibrous forms. It is a valuable industrial mineral used in plastics, ceramics, metallurgical applications, paint, and friction products. For some applications wollastonite serves as an asbestos replacement. To varying degrees, wollastonite grades contain respirable particles/fibers, some of which have lengths and diameters that might be biologically active if deposited and retained in the lung. In this review we provide background information on wollastonite properties, markets, production and use, regulatory classification, and occupational exposure limits. We also summarize the available studies on the toxicology and epidemiology of wollastonite. We conclude that there is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of wollastonite in animals and, based on strong evidence that wollastonite is not biopersistent, believe that a well-designed animal inhalation bioassay would have a negative result. The epidemiological evidence for wollastonite is limited, but does not suggest that workers are at significant risk of an increased incidence of pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. Morbidity studies have demonstrated a nonspecific increase in bronchitis and reduced lung function. It is prudent, however, to continue product stewardship efforts by wollastonite producers to control workplace exposures and to monitor scientific developments.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08958370591002030

Affiliations: 1: Everest Consulting Associates, Cranbury, New Jersey 2: ToxPath Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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