(HealthDay News) — Corian dust may be a potential cause of pulmonary fibrosis, according to a research letter published in the May 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Ganesh Raghu, MD, from University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues report a case study of a 64-year-old man with a history of working with Corian, a solid-surface material composed of acrylic polymer and aluminum trihydrate. The man presented with typical clinical features of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and radiographic features of usual interstitial pneumonia. A surgical lung biopsy showed histologic features of usual interstitial pneumonia.

The researchers conducted further tissue analyses that showed aluminum trihydroxide in the fibrotic lung, supporting a potential causal relationship between the Corian dust and pulmonary fibrosis. Following death from respiratory failure secondary to pulmonary fibrosis, autopsy revealed that the lungs were small and that there was aluminum trihydroxide in the fibrotic lungs.

“Although the findings from this case do not confirm causality, until further data to support or refute the association are available, inquiry into each patient’s occupational and environmental exposures should be made when considering a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis,” the authors write.

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