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Environ Pollut. 2009 Jun;157(6):1767-70. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.02.023. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Association between micronuclei frequency in pollen mother cells of Tradescantia and mortality due to cancer and cardiovascular diseases: a preliminary study in Sao José dos Campos, Brazil.

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  • 1Department of Geochemistry, Fluminense Federal University, Niteroi, RJ, Brazil.


The present study was designed to explore the correlation between the frequency of micronuclei in Trad-MN, measured across 28 biomonitoring stations during the period comprised between 11 of May and 2 of October, 2006, and adjusted mortality rates due to cardiovascular, respiratory diseases and cancer in Sao José dos Campos, Brazil, an area with different sources of air pollution. For controlling purposes, mortality rate due to gastrointestinal diseases (an event less prone to be affected by air pollution) was also considered in the analysis. Spatial distribution of micronuclei frequency was determined using average interpolation. The association between health estimators and micronuclei frequency was determined by measures of Pearson's correlation. Higher frequencies of micronuclei were detected in areas with high traffic and close to a petrochemical pole. Significant associations were detected between micronuclei frequency and adjusted mortality rate due to cardiovascular diseases (r=0.841, p=0.036) and cancer (r=0.890, p=0.018). The association between mortality due to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases was positive but did not reach statistical significance (r=0.640, p=0.172), probably because of the small number of events. Gastrointestinal mortality did not exhibit significant association with micronuclei frequency. Because the small number of observations and the nature of an ecological study, the present findings must be considered with caution and considered as preliminary. Further studies, performed in different conditions of contamination and climate should be done before considering Trad-MN in the evaluation of human health risk imposed by air pollutants.

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