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Arch Argent Pediatr. 2015 Apr;113(2):126-31. doi: 10.5546/aap.2015.126.

Assessment of the level of damage to the genetic material of children exposed to pesticides in the province of Córdoba.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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Grupo de investigación GeMA - Genética y Mutagénesis Ambiental, Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto.



In the past decades, several authors have investigated the genotoxicity caused by exposure to chemicals, but there are no reports on studies analyzing such effects on children in Argentina. The objective of this study was to establish the micronucleus frequency in exfoliated buccal mucosa cells in children from urban areas with environmental exposure (through inhalation) and to compare it with the micronucleus frequency in children from urban regions far from areas subjected to spraying.


Fifty children living in the town of Marcos Juárez (Córdoba) at different distances from pesticide spraying areas and twenty-five children from the city of Río Cuarto (Córdoba), who are considered not exposed to pesticides, were studied; the micronucleus assay in buccal mucosa cells was used.


A significant difference was observed between exposed children living less than 500 m from areas subjected to spraying and those who were not exposed. Forty percent of exposed children suffer some type of persistent condition, which may be associated with chronic exposure to pesticides.


Results indicate that genotoxicity is present in a group of children compared to the other one, and highlight the importance of the micronucleus assay in buccal mucosa cells for genetic biomonitoring and public health surveillance. This assay is capable of detecting a level of damage that can be reversible.

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