ArticlesAsbestos Body Burden in Decomposed Human LungsMollo, Franco M.D.; Cravello, Maurizio M.D.; Andreozzi, Armando M.D.; Burlo, Paola M.D.; Bo, Patrizia M.D.; Attanasio, Angelo B.D.; De Giuli, Paolo M.D. Author Information From Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, University of Turin, Italy (F.M., M.C., P.B., P.B., A.A.), and S. Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Orbassano, Italy (A.A., P.D.G.). Manuscript received September 8, 1999; accepted January 22, 2000. This investigation was supported by a grant "ex 40%" from the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research and Technology. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Prof. Franco Mollo, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Oncologia Umana dell'Università di Torino, via Santena 7, 10126 Torino, Italy. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2000 - Volume 21 - Issue 2 - p 148-150 Buy Abstract The authors discuss the influence of postmortem tissue decomposition on the lung asbestos body (AB) burden, with the aim of evaluating the reliability of data obtained from autopsies performed for medicolegal purposes several months after deaths in possible connection with asbestos-related pathology. Eight autopsy cases were selected, each one with occupational exposure considered very probable on the basis of the history or pathologic findings. In each case the AB concentrations were assessed soon after death in one lung and after periods of 1 to 18 months in the others, which had been stored in sealed containers without fixation. AB concentrations consistently decreased with time in rotten lungs. The counts in some cases became negative a few months after death, even in cases with very high AB counts at first examination. It may be reasonably inferred that, in putrefied lungs from corpses exhumed after months of interment, the counts in digested tissues and the screening of histologic sections for AB may give false-negative results. © 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.