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Environ Health Perspect. 2004 May;112(6):666-71.

Urinary 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine as a biomarker of oxidative DNA damage in workers exposed to fine particulates.

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Department of Environmental Health, Occupational Health Program, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Residual oil fly ash (ROFA) is a chemically complex mixture of compounds, including metals that are potentially carcinogenic because of their ability to cause oxidative injury. In this study, we investigated the association between exposure to particulate matter with an aerodynamic mass median diameter <or= 2.5 micro m (PM2.5) and oxidative DNA damage and repair, as indicated by urinary 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) concentrations, in a group of boilermakers exposed to ROFA and metal fumes. Twenty workers (50% smokers) were monitored for 5 days during an overhaul of oil-fired boilers. The median occupational PM2.5 8-hr time-weighted average was 0.44 mg/m3 (25th-75th percentile, 0.29-0.76). The mean +/- SE creatinine-adjusted 8-OHdG levels were 13.26 +/- 1.04 micro g/g in urine samples collected pre-workshift and 15.22 +/- 0.99 micro g/g in the post-workshift samples. The urinary 8-OHdG levels were significantly greater in the post-workshift samples than in the pre-workshift samples (p = 0.02), after adjusting for urinary cotinine levels, chronic bronchitis status, and age. Linear mixed models indicated a significant exposure-response association between PM2.5 exposure and urinary 8-OHdG levels (p = 0.03). Each 1-mg/m3 incremental increase in PM2.5 exposure was associated with an increase of 1.67 micro g/g (95% confidence interval, 0.21-3.14) in 8-OHdG levels. PM2.5 vanadium, manganese, nickel, and lead exposures also were positively associated with 8-OHdG levels (p <or= 0.05). This study suggests that a relatively young and healthy cohort of boilermakers may experience an increased risk of developing oxidative DNA injury after exposure to high levels of metal-containing particulate matter.

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