Asbestos alternative also damages DNA, study finds

14 Jul 2017 by under News

800px How joint 100x100 Asbestos alternative also damages DNA, study findsA new Chinese study suggests an alternative can cause the same type damage as the carcinogen it was meant to replace, potentially increasing health concerns for those who used a product they believed was safe.

Rock wool, or mineral wool as it is also called, is created from melting rock and spinning it into long fiber strands and is often used for insulation and soundproofing as an alternative to asbestos, a known human carcinogen.

Researchers used lung fibroblast cells, a type of connective tissue critical to healing, from hamsters to compare DNA damage from chrysotile asbestos and rock wool fibers. Both produced micronuclei, clumps of DNA that accumulate from damage and cells’ inability to replicate, according to Mesothelioma Research News. At low doses, the two caused the same amount of DNA damage, but at the highest doses, researchers found asbestos caused more damage, including more damage for exposure over long periods of time.

Asbestos was once used in a variety of construction and manufacturing materials for its heat resistance and flexibility, but has since been found to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and other related diseases, leaving workers in a variety of fields exposed. Since many asbestos-related diseases take years or even decades to develop, the likelihood of developing a health issue due to asbestos actually increases as the time from initial exposure increases, unlike many diseases.

“Our study suggests that both chrysotile and rock wool fibers could induce chromosome aberrations and DNA damage. These materials are worthy of further study,” the study concludes.


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