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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Aug;20(8):5160-7. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-1500-9. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Health care industries: potential generators of genotoxic waste.

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1
Environmental Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, 302004, Rajasthan, India. ps.pratisha@gmail.com

Abstract

Health care waste includes all the waste generated by health care establishments, research facilities, and laboratories. This constitutes a variety of chemical substances, such as pharmaceuticals, radionuclides, solvents, and disinfectants. Recently, scientists and environmentalists have discovered that wastewater produced by hospitals possesses toxic properties due to various toxic chemicals and pharmaceuticals capable of causing environmental impacts and even lethal effects to organisms in aquatic ecosystems. Many of these compounds resist normal wastewater treatment and end up in surface waters. Besides aquatic organisms, humans can be exposed through drinking water produced from contaminated surface water. Indeed, some of the substances found in wastewaters are genotoxic and are suspected to be potential contributors to certain cancers. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genotoxic and cytotoxic potential of wastewaters from two hospitals and three clinical diagnostic centers located in Jaipur (Rajasthan State), India using the prokaryotic Salmonella mutagenicity assay (Ames assay) and the eukaryotic Saccharomyces cerevisiae respiration inhibition assay. In the Ames assay, untreated wastewaters from both of the health care sectors resulted in significantly increased numbers of revertant colonies up to 1,000-4,050 as measured by the Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100 strains (with and without metabolic activation) after exposure to undiluted samples, which indicated the highly genotoxic nature of these wastewaters. Furthermore, both hospital and diagnostic samples were found to be highly cytotoxic. Effective concentrations at which 20 % (EC20) and 50 % (EC50) inhibition of the respiration rate of the cells occurred ranged between ~0.00 and 0.52 % and between 0.005 and 41.30 % (calculated with the help of the MS excel software XLSTAT 2012.1.01; Addinsoft), respectively, as determined by the S. cerevisiae assay. The results indicated that hospital wastewaters contain genotoxic and cytotoxic components. In addition, diagnostic centers also represent small but significant sources of genotoxic and cytotoxic wastes.

PMID:
23361179
DOI:
10.1007/s11356-013-1500-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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