Nail dust particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy for size and topography. The percentage of "fines" that could be inhaled and deposited in the alveoli and bronchioles were determined by quantitative particle size analysis. Distribution representing the largest total mass was graphed between 1 and 2 microns. The authors found that 86% of nail dust would reach the bronchioles and alveoli, and 31% could be expected to deposit in these areas.
The podiatric procedure of burring hyperkeratotic fungal infected toenails results in large quantities of nail dust aerosols. An extremely large percentage (31%) of podiatrists who were analyzed for immunoglobulin E (IgE) by antibody radioimmunoassay were found to have abnormally high levels. Incidence of precipitin antibodies to Trichophyton rubrum in sera of those in practice from 0 to 15 years was 23%, and those in practice 16 years or more was 29%. In this study, podiatrists who were chronically exposed to nail dust aerosols after years of practice presented with symptoms of conjunctivitis, rhinitis, asthma, coughing, hypersensitivity, and impaired lung function.