Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 2851–2865 | Cite as

Environmental exposure and effects on health of children from a tobacco-producing region

  • Sabrina N. Nascimento
  • Gabriela Göethel
  • Marília Baierle
  • Anelise Barth
  • Natália Brucker
  • Mariele F. Charão
  • Angela M. Moro
  • Bruna Gauer
  • Elisa Sauer
  • Juliano Durgante
  • Marcelo D. Arbo
  • Flavia V. Thiesen
  • Tatiana D. Saint’ Pierre
  • Adriana Gioda
  • Rafael Moresco
  • Solange Cristina Garcia
Research Article


Children may be environmentally exposed to several hazards. In order to evaluate the health of children living in a tobacco-producing region, different biomarkers of exposure and effect, as well as hematological parameters, were evaluated. Biomarkers of exposure to the following xenobiotics were assessed: pesticides, nicotine, toxic elements, and organic solvents. Oxidative damage markers malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyls (PCO), vitamin C, microalbuminuria (mALB) levels, and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) activity were also evaluated. Peripheral blood samples and urine were collected from 40 children (6–12 years), at two different crop periods: in the beginning of pesticide applications (period 1) and in the leaf harvest (period 2). The Wilcoxon signed-rank test for paired data was used to evaluate the differences between both periods. Biomarkers of exposure cotinine in urine and blood chromium (Cr) levels were increased in period 1 when compared to period 2. Moreover, a significant reduced plasmatic activity of butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) was observed in period 2 in relation to period 1. Blood Cr levels were above the recommended by WHO in both evaluations. The biomarkers MDA and PCO as well as the kidney dysfunction biomarker, mALB, presented levels significantly increased in period 1. Additionally, decreased lymphocytes and increased basophils were also observed. Cotinine was positively associated with PCO, and Cr was positively associated with PCO and MDA. The increased Cr levels were associated with decreased lymphocytes and increased basophils. Our findings demonstrate that children environmentally exposed to xenobiotics in rural area may present early kidney dysfunction, hematological alterations, as well as lipid and protein damages, associated with co-exposure to different xenobiotics involved in tobacco cultivation.


Tobacco Chromium Children Hematological alterations Microalbuminuria Oxidative damage Environmental health 



The authors would like to thank all the participants of this study. In addition, the authors thank the Reference Center for Occupational Health (CEREST) of Santa Maria, RS, Brazil, especially the physician Rosa Maria Wolff, for their excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) Brazil and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS), through the grants provided to S.C. Garcia. CNPq provided a PhD research fellowship to S. Nascimento. S.C. Garcia is a recipient of CNPq research fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabrina N. Nascimento
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gabriela Göethel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marília Baierle
    • 1
  • Anelise Barth
    • 1
  • Natália Brucker
    • 1
  • Mariele F. Charão
    • 1
    • 3
  • Angela M. Moro
    • 1
  • Bruna Gauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elisa Sauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Juliano Durgante
    • 1
  • Marcelo D. Arbo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Flavia V. Thiesen
    • 4
  • Tatiana D. Saint’ Pierre
    • 5
  • Adriana Gioda
    • 5
  • Rafael Moresco
    • 6
  • Solange Cristina Garcia
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Toxicology (LATOX), Department of Analyses, Faculty of PharmacyFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Post-Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical SciencesFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Institute of Health SciencesFeevale UniversityNovo HamburgoBrazil
  4. 4.Faculty of PharmacyPontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  5. 5.Department of ChemistryPontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  6. 6.Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry, Department of Clinical and Toxicological AnalysesFederal University of Santa Maria (UFSM)Santa MariaBrazil

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