ABSTRACT: The formaldehyde (FA) genotoxic potential in occupationally exposed individuals is conflicting. A relevant indoor-air FA pollution was found in hospitals and scientific institutions where FA is used as a bactericide and tissue preservative. In the present study, we evaluated the frequency of chromosomal aberrations (CAs) in peripheral blood lymphocytes from workers in pathology wards who have been exposed to FA, compared with a group of unexposed subjects. The subjects were also analyzed for the GSTM1 and GSTT1 metabolic gene polymorphisms. The exposed subjects showed a significant increase in the frequency of CA per cell and in the percentage of cells with aberrations compared to control subjects. The different GST genotypes did not affect the level of cytogenetic damage since CA frequencies were not statistically different between the GST "null" genotypes and the GST "positives". The generalized linear models showed that the number of CAs and cells with CAs increased with age, but, independent of age, it was significantly higher in the experimental rather than in the control group. Cubic-spline regression confirmed the linear relationship between CAs and age, but it provided evidence for a non-linear relationship between CAs and the number of years of FA exposure. Similar results were observed when the model included the number of cells with CAs as dependent variables. Our results demonstrate that air FA induces CAs even consequently to low levels of daily exposure, indicating an increased risk of genetic damage for workers exposed to this air pollutant.
Archive für Toxikologie 03/2011; 85(10):1295-302. · 4.67 Impact Factor