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Mutat Res. 1990 Aug;244(4):345-51.

The micronucleus assay in human exfoliated cells of the nose and mouth: application to occupational exposures to chromic acid and ethylene oxide.

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Istituto di Medicina del Lavoro dell'Università, Padua, Italy.


We have applied the micronucleus (MN) assay to exfoliated cells of buccal and nasal cavities to monitor the genotoxic risk in a group of workers exposed to chromic acid and in another group exposed to ethylene oxide (EtO). The first group comprised 16 subjects working in a 'hard' type chrome-plating factory showing increased chromium absorption and chromium-induced rhinopathy. The second group comprised 9 subjects working in a sterilization unit, exposed to EtO concentrations lower than 0.38 ppm as timed weighted average (TWA) for a working shift; 3 of them were involved in a acute exposure too. The frequency of MN in buccal mucosa was within the norm for exposure both to chromium and to EtO. The MN frequency in nasal mucosa was not altered in chromium platers, whereas a significant increase (p less than 0.01) in MN was found in 2 out of 3 subjects involved in the accidental EtO leakage and a non-significant increase in MN was found in the group chronically exposed to EtO.

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