SVIBOR - Project code: 3-01-035


Strossmayerov trg 4, HR - 10000 ZAGREB
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Project code: 3-01-035


Main researcher: VALIĆ, FEDOR (51484)

Type of research: applied
Duration from: 01/01/91.

Papers on project (total): 21
Institution name: Medicinski fakultet, Zagreb (108)
Department/Institute: Andrija Štampar School of Public Health
Address: 10000 Zagreb, Rockefellerova 4
City: 10000 - Zagreb, Croatia
Phone: 385 (0)1 276 822
Fax: 385 (0)1 275 415

Summary: Prevalences of all respiratory symptoms were found to be significantly higher in asbestos workers compared with controls, both in nonsmokers and smokers.Multiple linear regression analyses showed that the prevalences of symptoms increased with both the length of employment and the cumulative exposure to total airborne particles, but not with cumulative exposure to fibres. In spite of increased asbestos fibre concentrations measured in domestic environments of workers occupationally exposed to asbestos, no increase of prevalences of respiratory symptoms was found in their family members. In female members, however, the mean measured ventilatory lung function parameters were found to be significantly lower than the expected normal values. There was no difference in the sensitivity to occupational exposure to asbestos-cement between men and women. On the basis of multiple linear regression analyses of the relationship of concentrations obtained with the konimeter, the thermal precipitator and the membrane filtre in four different asbestos manufacturing processes, it was established that no single conversion factor may be used for the interconversion of results obtained by different methods. Evaluating whether formaldehyde, evaporating in the course of impregnation and use of mineral fibres, could exert negative effects, it was observed that formaldehyde can cause conjunctivitis and pharyngitis at concentrations as low as one third of TLV. Determining the airborne concentrations of mineral fibres in buildings it was proven that, contrary to expectations, the unnecessary removal of insulating materials may bring about a significant increase of the exposure of inhabitants. The results of the studies of the health effects of asbestos and possible substitutes for asbestos were used in the period 1991-1995 in the development of 7 papers in journals, 3 international monographs, 2 critical reviews in international proceedings, 1 paper in domestic proceeding, 3 invited presentations at international meetings, and 3 summaries in the proceedings of an international meeting.

Keywords: airborne fibres, asbestos fibres, mineral fibres, formaldehyde, concentration conversions, respiratory symptoms, lung function, removal of fibres from buildings

Research goals: In our previous studies, partly in cooperation with the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, indications were obtained that non-specific chronic respiratory symptoms may be the earliest response of the organism to the exposure to asbestos fibres, but the hypothesis that the effect on the lung function is the consequence of specific pathogenesis due to fibres remained unresolved. In order to confirm or decline the hypothesis and in order to evaluate whether the substitute non-asbestos fibres act in a different way, it was planned to perform analyses of the relationships between the cumulative fibre exposure and the magnitude of their biological pathogenic potential. It was also planned to compare the magnitude of the effects of asbestos and potential substitute fibres, calculating the specific effects of related fibre exposures extrapolated to unit exposure level. Using differential ecological analyses, the evaluation to be made of the relative role of fibres in the biological effects of total solid aerosols. The development of equations for interconverting fibre exposure levels of airborne fibres determined by different analytical methods was planned, a problem of utmost impostance in quantitative health risk assessment.


  1. Name of project: Environmental Health Criteria Programme
    Name of institution: International Programme on Chemical Safety/World Health Organization


  1. Name of institution: International Programme on Chemical Safety/World Health Organization
    Type of institution: International organization
    Type of cooperation: Systematic exchange of information
    City: Ženeva, Švicarska


  1. Name: There is no difference in respiratory response to asbestos between women and men
    Type of achievement: Other
    Authors: Valić F, Beritić D, Cigula M

  2. Name: Uklanjanje vlaknatih izolacijskih materijala iz zgrada nije uvijek potrebno
    Type of achievement: Other
    Authors: Cigula M, Valić F

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Last update: 10/12/95