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Mutat Res. 1995 Apr;334(2):139-44.

Occupational exposure to bidi tobacco increases chromosomal aberrations in tobacco processors.

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Carcinogenesis Division, Tata Memorial Centre, Parel, Bombay, India.


In India, workers engaged in processing of tobacco for the manufacture of bidis (the indigenous substitute for cigarettes) are chronically exposed to tobacco flakes and dust via the cutaneous and nasopharyngeal routes. Hence, workers in a tobacco processing factory were monitored for chromosomal aberrations (CA) using peripheral blood lymphocytes as the test system. Cytogenetic analysis revealed a significant increase in deletion fragments and chromatid gaps in the exposed group. The frequency of aberrant metaphases and the proportion of individuals with CA were significantly higher in workers than in controls, indicating that occupational exposure to tobacco imposes considerable genotoxicity among tobacco processors.

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