Genotoxic effects following exposure to air pollution in street vendors from a high-traffic urban area
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Workers in several occupational environments are exposed to pollutants. Street vendors, for example, typically work in a high-traffic urban environment and are exposed to numerous air pollutants, including genotoxic substances emitted by motor vehicles. This study examined the genotoxic effects of exposure to air pollution. We conducted cytological analyses to assess frequencies of micronucleated (MN) and binucleated (BN) cells in a sample of exfoliated oral mucosa cells. We compared street vendors and control subjects in the city of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, and also collected quantitative information on exposure conditions of all test subjects, including concentrations of particulate matter. We found street vendors to exhibit higher frequencies of MN cells compared to the control group. We evaluated the effects of possible confounding variables on MN frequencies, namely the body mass index (BMI), age, as well as smoking and alcohol habits. Multiple linear regression analysis found no significant effects of any of those variables. Our results suggest that continued exposure to air pollution from traffic represents a major source of genotoxicity and raises concerns regarding disease prevention not only in street vendors but also other groups of people working in urban environments.
KeywordsMicronucleus assay Particulate matter Environmental assessment
Compliance with ethical standards
Our study was carried out in accordance with the ethical standards in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki. Our research protocol was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of Fundação Carmelitana Mário Palmério (FUCAMP) in Monte Carmelo, Minas Gerais, Brazil (number 1.599.783).
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