Evaluation of area contaminated by wood treatment activities: genetic markers in the environment and in the child population
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Wood preservation activities and related compounds are a problem since these areas have major environmental contamination liabilities which compromise the health of the surrounding population and the integrity of ecological processes. The present study evaluated an area influenced by soil contamination arising from the activities of a deactivated wood treatment plant. The presence and effect of mutagenic compounds in environmental samples were used as markers of exposure together with the evaluation biomarkers of genetic damage in children. Organic extracts from samples of public source water and from fine atmospheric particulate matter (PM2.5) were evaluated for mutagenic potential using the Salmonella/microsome assay. Children living in the area surrounding the plant were analyzed for genetic damage assessed by the comet assay in lymphocytes and micronucleus test (MN) in lymphocytes and oral mucosa and compared to a group living in an area outside the preferential quadrant of atmospheric dispersion and in opposition to the drainage at the site. The mutagenic effect and PAHs concentrations found were similar to studies that evaluated intensely occupied urban areas and those under industrial influence. The MN frequencies in lymphocytes and binucleated cells in the oral mucosa were significantly higher in the risk group. No significant differences were observed in the other genetic damage biomarkers evaluated. The presence of pollutants with a mutagenic and carcinogenic effect on the PM2.5 and the increased in some biomarkers indicate that the population is potentially exposed to substances capable of causing adverse health effects and atmospheric airborne is a possible exposure route.