2018 Volume 56 Issue 3 Pages 249-254
Health surveillance of asbestos exposed workers should be stratified according to the exposure level. Unfortunately there is a lack of information regarding asbestos exposure in many working places and markers of asbestos exposure are often needed. The aim of the study was to assess the reliability of different dose and effect biomarkers in the follow up of asbestos-exposed workers. Mineralogical analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) as a biomarker of asbestos fibre burden was performed in a population of 307 male subjects occupationally exposed to asbestos. Using nonparametric statistical methods 8 variables were analyzed with respect to asbestos-related diseases and working sectors. The existence of a relationship between serum soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP) and asbestos exposure levels was also investigated. Concentrations of amphiboles, chrysotile and asbestos bodies in BALF were higher in patients with asbestosis as well as in railway industry workers. A correlation between the onset of non malignant asbestos-related diseases and the levels of SMRP concentration was not found. This study confirms that fibre concentration in BALF may be considered as a reliable biomarker of previous asbestos exposure, whereas SMRP does not appear to be influenced by asbestos exposure levels.