The usefulness of bronchoalveolar lavage in identifying past occupational exposure to asbestos: A light and electron microscopy study

Ronald F. Dodson, Joe G.N. Garcia, Michael O'sullivan, Carolyn Corn, Jeffrey L. Levin, David E. Griffith, Richard S. Kronenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Fiberoptic bronchoscopy has permitted the development of lavage procedures for the collection of lung washes. In certain disease states this material may contain large numbers of phagocytic cells (macrophages and neutrophils). Since these phagocytes are the predominant “dust scavenger cells” in the lung, the assessment of their particulate burden as well as that of the overall lavage material has been suggested as a potentially important diagnostic tool. The studies to date have shown that the presence of ferruginous bodies is an indication of past occupational exposure. In the present study, a digestion procedure was carried out on bronchoalveolar lavage material collected from individuals who were occupationally exposed to asbestos and from samples obtained from the general population. The parameters used for distinguishing the source of these samples included both light microscopy assessment of the filters for the presence of ferruginous bodies and electron microscopic screening for the presence of uncoated fibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-628
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes



  • EM
  • bronchoalveolar lavage
  • ferruginous bodies
  • lung dust exposures
  • macrophage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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