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Mol Cytogenet. 2014 Feb 27;7(1):15. doi: 10.1186/1755-8166-7-15.

Monitoring of gas station attendants exposure to benzene, toluene, xylene (BTX) using three-color chromosome painting.

Author information

1
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Médicas, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. gbrown@inca.gov.br.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Chronic exposure of BTX (benzene, toluene, xylene) may lead to progressive degeneration of bone marrow, aplastic anemia and/or leukemia. In Brazil there is no self-service fuel in gas stations and attendants fill the fuel themselves. Due to this they are chronically exposed to high concentration of BTX. Occupational exposure to benzene has been associated with increased chromosomal aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using whole chromosome painting (wcp) probes allows the rapid detection of chromosomal aberration. In the present study three-color wcp probes for chromosomes 1, 2 and 4 were used for monitoring 60 gas station attendants.

RESULTS:

Blood tests were done and interviews were conducted for each worker. For searching for possible associations between the clinical characteristics and the frequency of chromosomal aberrations the workers were divided into two groups (≤ 10 chromosomal abnormalities per 1,000 metaphases and > 10 chromosomal abnormalities per 1,000 metaphases).The studied workers had a low median age (36 year), albeit long period of BTX exposure (median was 16 years). Low prevalence of smoking and moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages were found in this population. The cytogenetic analysis showed 16.6% (10/60) of workers with a high frequency of chromosomal abnormalities (>10 chromosomal abnormalities per 1,000 metaphases). Translocations were the most frequently observed chromosome aberration. The statistical analysis revealed highly significant differences in skin color (p = 0.002) and a weak significant differences in gender (p = 0.052) distribution between the two groups.

CONCLUSION:

16.6% of the studied population showed elevated frequencies of chromosomal abnormalities, which is highly likely to be correlated with their exposure to BTX during their work. Therefore, further studies are needed for better characterize the work associated damage of the genome in gas station workers. It is necessary to better understand the risks that these workers are exposed, so that we can be effective in preventing diseases and maintaining the health of these workers and possibly the offspring.

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