International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - Summaries & Evaluations


VOL.: 42 (1987) (p. 225)

5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

5.1 Exposure data

Erionite occurs as a fibrous component of some zeolite deposits in various areas of the world. Erionite fibres have also been identified as a component of soil and building materials in these areas. The most important exposures to date have been nonoccupational and occur as a result of resuspension of erionite-containing dusts. Occupational exposures occur during mining, milling and processing of some zeolites as well as during agricultural work in areas in which soils are contaminated with erionite.

5.2 Experimental data

Erionite from various natural sources was tested for carcinogenicity in rats by inhalation and by intrapleural administration, and in mice by intraperitoneal injection, producing high incidences of mesotheliomas by all routes of administration.

No data were available to evaluate the reproductive or prenatal toxicity of erionite in experimental animals.

Erionite induced unscheduled DNA synthesis and morphological transformation in cultured mammalian cells.

5.3 Human data

Descriptive studies have demonstrated very high mortality from malignant mesothelioma, mainly of the pleura, in three Turkish villages where there was contamination from erionite and where exposure was from birth. Erionite fibres were identified in lung tissue samples in cases of pleural mesothelioma; ferruginous bodies were found in a much higher proportion of inhabitants in contaminated villages than in those of two control villages.

5.4 Evaluation

There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of erionite to experimental animals.

There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of erionite to humans.

For definition of the italicized terms, see Preamble Evaluation.

Subsequent evaluation: Suppl. 7 (1987)

Last updated: 23 April 1998

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