RTP company gets grant to study asbestos

Posted December 19, 2008 11:35 a.m. EST

— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted $2.1 million to The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park to study vermiculite, a mineral resembling mica used in insulation, packing and other processes.

The mineral, when inhaled, is associated with asbestosis, lung cancer and pleural cancer.

Hamner will study how potent vermiculite can be and compare it to a known kind of asbestos. The three-year study will include assembling an inhalation exposure system for the exposure of fibers to laboratory animals, conducting range-finding and definitive toxicity studies in rats and analyzing fiber content of rat tissues following exposure.