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Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Mar 15;153(6):546-58.

Analysis of 13 (32)P-DNA postlabeling studies on occupational cohorts exposed to air pollution.

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  • 1Unit of Experimental Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Genoa, Italy.


Industrial and urban workers may be exposed to significant levels of air pollutants resulting from the incomplete combustion of organic matter. The authors performed a meta-analysis of 13 DNA-adduct studies ((32)P-DNA postlabeling technique) on occupational cohorts exposed to air pollution. The association between levels of DNA adducts and air pollution exposure was significant both in heavily exposed industrial workers and in less severely exposed urban workers. Moreover, in an analysis using the seven studies that reported measuring levels of benzo[a]pyrene (B(a)P), a typical marker of exposure, DNA adduct levels in exposed workers (versus those in referents) were significantly correlated with air levels of B(a)P. The relation between DNA adducts and B(a)P was found to be linear at low doses and sublinear at high doses, indicating that DNA adduct formation tends to reach some kind of saturation point at higher levels of exposure to the chemical mixtures present in fumes. When the authors examined the efficiency of DNA adduct production associated with increasing air pollution exposures, the production of DNA adducts per unit of exposure was significantly decreased at higher B(a)P exposure levels. These findings suggest that linear downward extrapolations based on DNA adduct levels associated with B(a)P concentrations of > or =20 ng/m(3) might be affected by underestimation bias.

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