Volume 50 (2008) Issue 5 Pages 415-422
Solvents represent an important group of environmental pollutants to which people are exposed daily in the workplace. The physico chemical properties of solvents may result in disturbances to cellular structures, including damage to DNA. However, the effects of mixtures of solvents are not well known. Mutations caused by environmental agents are related to cancer development and other degenerative diseases. The work in a research laboratory that uses several types of solvents is equally predisposed to these hazards. In this study, we evaluated the mutagenicity of urine from 29 subjects exposed occupationally to solvents in a chemistry research laboratory and 29 subjects without occupational exposure (controls). Urine samples were collected in polyethylene containers at the end of the work shift. For the concentration and extraction of urine samples the XAD-2 resin was used with acetone as an eluting agent. Several strains of Salmonella typhimurium (TA100, TA98, TA97a, TA1535, YG1024) should be used to assess mutagenic susceptibilities among workers exposed to organic solvents. Different doses of extract (1.5; 3.0; 6.0 and 12.0 ml equivalents of urine per plate) were tested on S. typhimurium strains TA100 and YG1024, with and without metabolic activation. The mutagenic activity, measured in Salmonella typhimurium YG1024 with S9 mix, was significantly greater in urine from workers than from controls (p≤0.05). These results indicate the relevance of using biomarkers to assess the risk of occupational exposure to organic solvents.