Cytogenetic monitoring of industrial populations potentially exposed to genotoxic chemicals and of control populations

de Jong, G.; van Sittert, N.J.; Natarajan, A.T.

Mutation Research 204(3): 451-464


ISSN/ISBN: 0027-5107
PMID: 3347216
DOI: 10.1016/0165-1218(88)90041-9
Accession: 005085432

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Currently the most applied technique for monitoring biological effects of exposure to genotoxic chemicals in industrial workers is the measurement of chromosome aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes. In the Shell petrochemical complex in the Netherlands cytogenetic monitoring studies have been carried out from 1976 till 1981 inclusive, in workers potentially exposed to a variety of genotoxic chemicals, i.e. vinyl chloride, ethylene oxide, benzene, epichlorophydrin, epoxy resins. Average exposure levels to these chemicals were well below the occupational exposure limits. Results of these studies indicate that no biologically significant increase in the frequencies of chromosome aberrations in the exposed populations occurred compared with control populations. Our experience with this methodology has shown that the results of chromosome analyses are difficult to interpret, due to the variable and high background levels of chromosome aberrations in control populations and individuals. It is concluded that the method is not sufficiently sensitive for routine monitoring of cytogenetic effects in workers exposed to the low levels of genotoxic compounds.