Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education
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Background: Occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has been reported in automobile repair garages.
Occupational and environmental exposures mostly represent mixtures of genotoxic agents, whereas the specificity of biomarker
measurements varies widely and a higher risk for DNA damage/oxidative damage was found in PAHs exposed groups.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the urinary excretion 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP), a biological exposure marker.
Furthermore we aimed to evaluate the association between 1-OHP and oxidative/DNA damage among automobile repair garage
Methods: The study population comprised of 136 occupationally exposed automobile repair garage workers and 74 unexposed controls.
All the study participants were males. Both the exposed and control individuals were selected from automobile garages located in and
around Coimbatore city, south India. Venous blood and spot urine samples were collected from workers and controls using standard
procedures. Internal exposure to PAHs was assessed by measurement of 1-OHP in urine samples. Lipid peroxidation was measured as
plasma MDA levels and the intensity of DNA damage was determined by comet and micronucleus assay.
Results: A higher concentration of 1-OHP was found in the exposed group relative to the control group (p<0.05). A positive correlation
was identified between the DNA damage and MDA levels in all exposed groups. Frequencies of DNA damage in automobile workers
were significantly higher than those in controls (p<0.05) and also significantly related to smoking habit (p<0.05).
Conclusion: This study indicates that high 1-OHP levels are associated with PAHs exposure in automobile workers, which has been
associated with the increased oxidative damage. Moreover, smoking habit represents an additional risk factor to PAHs exposure among
workers, co-exposure to the habit of smoking should be considered seriously in future and it may be aetiologically related to increased
risk of cancer.
Keywords: Automobile workers; PAH; Plasma MDA; DNA damage; Micronucleus test
Sudha Sellappa, a doctorate in Zoology did doctoral research at Bharathiar University, India. Her research is in the area of occupational health and
toxicity. Specifically, the research in her group involves: (i) Biomonitoring of human genotoxicity induced by diverse occupational exposures and (ii)
Evaluation of DNA damage in the buccal mucosa of tobacco chewers. She has authored more than 50 refereed journal publications. In recognition of
her excellence and dedication in teaching and mentoring, she received the P K Das Memorial Best Faculty Award in 2011 and the Tamilnadu Young
Woman Scientist Award in 2013. Currently she teaches Environmental Biotechnology. Her core research is in occupational genotoxicity
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