Evaluation of micronucleus frequencies in blood lymphocytes from smelting plant workers exposed to arsenic

Leiliane Paiva, Valeria Martínez, Amadeu Creus, Domingo Quinteros, Ricardo Marcos

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Arsenic is a world health problem due to the seriousness of its effects, mainly related with the increase of cancer. In Chile, the geological characteristics of the northern region, associated with the development of the copper mining and smelting activities, have contributed to increase the environmental levels of arsenic. This study has been conducted to investigate the relationship between arsenic occupational exposure and genotoxic effects in smelting plant workers. To determine the genotoxic risk related to the increase of cancer among the chronically exposed population, the frequency of micronuclei in blood (BNMN) has been evaluated. The study was carried out in a total of 207 men, divided into three groups: an exposed group of 105 individuals working in a smelting plant, an internal reference group with 52 employees at the same mine but in the administrative area, and an external reference group of 50 workers from another copper mine where no significant levels of arsenic were detected. As expected, differences between arsenic levels in urine have been detected between groups, with the exposed group being the one with a higher level of total arsenic in urine, followed by the internal reference group. Despite that, no significant differences in micronuclei frequencies in lymphocytes were detected among these groups. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-205
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008


  • Arsenic exposure
  • Biomonitoring
  • Human lymphocytes
  • Micronuclei assay
  • Urinary arsenic


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