Biomonitoring of genotoxic exposure among stainless steel welders

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Lisbeth E. Knudsen, T Boisen, J M Christensen, J E Jelnes, G E Jensen, J C Jensen, K Lundgren, C Lundsteen, B Pedersen, K Wassermann

A biosurvey in the Danish metal industry measured the genotoxic exposure from stainless steel welding. The study comprised measurements of chromosomal aberrations (CA), sister-chromatid exchanges (SCE), unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) in peripheral lymphocytes and serum immunoglobulin G. Environmental monitoring of welding fumes and selected metal oxides, biomonitoring of chromium and nickel in serum and urine and mutagenic activity in urine, and evaluation of semen quality were also done. Manual metal arc (MMA) welding and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding were the dominant welding processes. A higher frequency of chromosomal aberrations, classified as translocations, double minutes, exchanges and rings, was observed in stainless steel welders than in non-welders. SCE was lower in welders working with both MMA and TIG welding than in reference persons. N-Acetoxy-N-acetylaminofluorene (NA-AAF)-induced UDS was lower in 23 never-smoking welders than in 19 unexposed never-smokers. Smoking was a confounding factor resulting in significantly higher CA, SCE, NA-AAF binding to DNA and mutagenic activity in urine. Age was also a confounder: CA, SCE, NA-AAF binding to DNA and UDS increased significantly with age. No significant correlation between SCE and CA or between CA and UDS was found. UDS decreased significantly with increasing lymphocyte count and a higher lymphocyte count was seen in MMA welders than in reference persons and in smokers than in non-smokers. Differences in the composition among lymphocytes in exposed persons compared with non-exposed are suggested. MMA welding gave the highest exposure to chromium, an increased number of chromosomal aberrations and a decrease in SCE when compared with TIG welding. Consequently improvements in the occupational practice of stainless steel welding with MMA is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Volume279
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)129-43
Number of pages15
ISSN0027-5107
Publication statusPublished - 1992

    Research areas

  • Acetoxyacetylaminofluorene, Adult, Cell Count, Cells, Cultured, Chromium, Chromosome Aberrations, DNA, Denmark, Environmental Monitoring, Humans, Immunoglobulin G, Lymphocytes, Male, Middle Aged, Mutagenicity Tests, Mutagens, Nickel, Occupational Exposure, Regression Analysis, Sister Chromatid Exchange, Smoking, Steel, Welding

ID: 137758852