Pulmonary abnormalities as a result of exposure to Libby amphibole during childhood and adolescence-The pre-adult latency study (PALS).


Jaime Szeinuk, Curtis W Noonan, Claudia I Henschke, Jean Pfau, Brad Black, Albert Miller, David F Yankelevitz, Mingzhu Liang, Ying Liu, Rowena Yip, Laura Linker, Tracy McNew, Raja M Flores


American Journal of Industrial Medicine


BACKGROUND: The purpose of Pre-Adult Latency Study was to evaluate lung findings among adults who had been environmentally exposed to Libby Amphibole only during childhood and adolescence. METHODS: Recruitment was restricted to volunteers who attended primary and/or secondary school, lived in Libby, MT, prior to age 23 years for males and 21 years for females and subsequently left the area. Subjects completed exposure and respiratory questionnaires, underwent pulmonary function tests (PFTs), and chest CT scans. A Pleural Score was calculated for degree and extent of pleural thickening. Logistic regression and multivariate linear regression were used. RESULTS: Of the 219 who met inclusion criteria, 198 participated. Pleural thickening was found in 96 (48%) of 198 participants. In almost half of these, it was of the lamellar type, not generally seen in exposure to other asbestos. Environmental Libby amphibole exposure was associated with pleural thickening, and the likelihood of pleural thickening increased with the number of years lived in the area. An inverse association between Pleural Score and PFT was found, which remained significant for FVC and DLco after additional sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Cumulative environmental exposure was associated with risk of pleural thickening. Among this cohort, quantitative measures of pleural thickening were associated with decreased PFT.



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