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Genet Mol Biol. 2012 Dec;35(4 (suppl)):1060-8. Epub 2012 Dec 18.

Susceptibility to DNA damage in workers occupationally exposed to pesticides, to tannery chemicals and to coal dust during mining.

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Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


Our mutagenesis group has been studying with important economic drivers of our state, such as agriculture, the foot-wear and leather industry and open-cast coal mining. Working conditions in these sectors have potentially harmful to humans. The aim of these studies is to determine the health risk of workers by biomonitoring subjects exposed to genotoxic agents. The main results of our studies with vineyard farmers we observed a high rate of MN and DNA damage in individuals exposed to pesticides (p < 0.001). In addition, some effects of genetic polymorphisms in the modulation of MN results were observed in this group. Tobacco farmers were also evaluated at different crop times. The results showed a significant increase in the Damage index and frequency in tobacco farmers compared to the non-exposed group, for all crop times. The results for footwear and tannery workers showed a significant increase in the mean ID for the solvent-based adhesive (p < 0.001) group in comparison to the water-based adhesive group and control (p < 0.05). For open-cast coal mine workers, the EBCyt indicated a significant increase in nuclear bud frequency and cytokinetic defects in the exposed group compared to the non-exposed group (p < 0.0001). We were able to associate specific genetic susceptibility with each type of exposure and with the non-use or improper use of personal protection equipment and diet adequacy. These results show how important the continuous education of exposed workers is to minimizing the effect of the occupational exposure and the risk of disease associated with the work.


Comet assay; coal dust; micronucleus test; occupational exposure; pesticide

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