Background: Painters are exposed to an extensive variety of harmful substances like aromatic hydrocarbons used as solvents and paint removers, some of which have shown clastogenic activity. These substances constitute a complex mixture of chemicals which contain well-known genotoxicants, such as Benzene, Toluene and Xylene. Thus, chronic occupational exposure to such substances may be considered to possess genotoxic risk. In Colombia the information available around the genotoxic damage (Chromosomal and DNA damage) in car paint shop workers is limited and the knowledge of this damage could contribute not only to a better understanding of the carcinogenic effect of this kind of substances but also could be used as biomarkers of occupational exposure to genotoxic agents. Results: In this study, the genotoxic effect of aromatic hydrocarbons was assessed in peripheral blood lymphocytes of 24 workers occupationally exposed and 24 unexposed donors, by using Cytogenetic analysis and comet assay. A high frequency of Chromosomal alterations was found in the exposed group in comparison with those observed in the unexposed group. Among the total of CAs observed in the exposed group, fragilities were most frequently found (100 %), followed by chromosomal breaks (58 %), structural (41.2 %) and numerical chromosomal alterations (21 %). Numerical chromosomal alterations, fragilities and chromosomal breaks showed significant differences between exposed and unexposed groups. Among the fragilities, fra(9)(q12) was the most frequently observed. DNA damage index was also significantly higher in the exposed group compared to the unexposed group (p < 0.000). Conclusions: Our results revealed that occupational exposure to aromatic hydrocarbons is significantly associated with Chromosomal and DNA damage in car paint shops workers and are also indicative of high chromosomal instability. The high frequency of both Chromosomal Alterations and DNA Damage Index observed in this study indicates an urgent need of intervention not only to prevent the increased risk of developing cancer but also to the application of strict health control and motivation to the use of appropriate protecting devices during work.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, medical