DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Asbestosis. Light micrograph of asbestos fibres (brown) embedded in lung tissue. Dark purple spots are cell nuclei. At left is a blood vessel filled with red blood cells. Asbestos is a fibrous miner- al used for insulation. Its needle-shaped fibres are indestructible once inhaled, and remain lodged in the lungs for life. In time the fibres acquire a segmented protein coat, coloured brown by an iron-containing pigment derived from disintegrated red blood cells. They cause chronic irritation, development of fibrous tissue, and increased risk of cancer. Symptoms may take years to appear and the damage can be fatal. Stained with eosin and hematoxylin. Magnification x300 at 35mm size.
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