Genotoxicity surveillance programme in workers dismantling World War I chemical ammunition.
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AbstractPURPOSE: To evaluate the effectiveness of personal protective measures in a dismantling plant for chemical weapons from World War I of the Belgian Defence. METHODS: Seventeen NIOSH level B-equipped plant workers exposed to arsenic trichloride (AsCl(3)) in combination with phosgene or hydrogen cyanide (HCN) were compared to 24 NIOSH level C-protected field workers occasionally exposed to genotoxic chemicals (including AsCl(3)-phosgene/HCN) when collecting chemical ammunition, and 19 matched referents. Chromosomal aberrations (CA), micronuclei (MNCB and MNMC), sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) and high frequency cells (HFC) were analysed in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Urinary arsenic levels and genetic polymorphisms in major DNA repair enzymes (hOGG1(326), XRCC1(399), XRCC3(241)) were also assessed. RESULTS: SCE and HFC levels were significantly higher in plant-exposed versus referent subjects, but MNCB and MNMC were not different. MNCB, SCE and HFC levels were significantly higher and MNMC levels significantly lower in field-exposed workers versus referents. AsCl(3) exposure was not correlated with genotoxicity biomarkers. CONCLUSIONS: Protective measures for plant-exposed workers appear adequate, but protection for field-exposed individuals could be improved.
CitationInt. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 2010, 83 (5):483-495
SponsorsThis study was funded by the Belgian Defence (Department RS & TD and DOVO; VUB contract: WDGO251, study MS 03/01), and by ECNIS (Environmental Cancer Risk, Nutrition and Individual Susceptibility), a network of excellence operating within the European Union 6th Framework Programme, Priority 5: “Food Quality and Safety” (Contract No 513943).
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