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Cytogenetic evaluation of tannery workers in the city of Teresina, northeastern Brazil

Author(s): F.P.M. do Amaral, E.J.L.S. do Amaral, M.P.M. do Amaral, L.S. Lopes, S.I. Lemos, R.V.G. Santos, T.V.S. Chaves, M.E.A. de Moraes and M.O.A. de Moraes Filho

Assessments of chromosomal integrity and structure enable the prevention of diseases associated with the work environment, with the frequencies of chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei often being used as markers in biomonitoring. Owing to their routine manipulation of potentially toxic chemicals, tannery workers as a group merit a more thorough evaluation and discussion. This study investigated chromosomal damage in 30 workers from a tannery in the city of Teresina, the state capital of Piauí, northeast Brazil, and a control group consisting of 30 employees from a nearby accounting firm. The frequencies of chromosomal aberrations (CAs) and binucleated cell micronuclei (MN) were assessed as a measure of damage. Means were compared using the Student t-test and ANOVA-Dunnett test. Our results indicated a higher number of CAs in exposed individuals compared to the control group, including dicentric (P < 0.0001) and tricentric chromosomes (P < 0.001), and those in ring (P < 0.0001) and acentric ring forms (P < 0.001). Assessment of MN frequency demonstrated a similar trend (exposed vs control, P < 0.0001). It was concluded that the tannery workers in this study exhibited a higher incidence of genetic damage than comparable unexposed individuals. However, further research on this subject is needed, particularly in regard to potentially clastogenic agents used in the tanning process.

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