Exposure to agrochemicals and DNA adducts in Western Liguria, Italy

Armelle Munnia, Riccardo Puntoni, Franco Merlo, Silvio Parodi, Marco Peluso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pesticides are used to control pests and improve agricultural production. Despite their selectivity of action, a number of agrochemicals have been reported to be genotoxic using the 32P-DNA postlabeling assay. Greenhouse floriculturists are suspected of being heavily exposed to agrochemicals during loading, mixing, and application of pesticides, as well as during manual activities by continuous contact with flowers and ornamental plants. We analyzed the DNA adduct formations in the white blood cells (WBCs) of 57 nonsmoker greenhouse floriculturists and 33 nonsmoker age-matched referents residing in the Western Liguria Region, Italy - the most important Italian greenhouse floriculture area. The averages of DNA adducts, expressed as relative adduct labeling (RAL), were 8.50 x 109 ± 1.98 (SE) in floriculturists and 2.17 x 109 ± 1.05 (SE) in referents. DNA adducts were significantly higher in floriculturists than in controls after adjustment for age and gender (P = 0.007). A specific adduct pattern, with up to six different spots, was observed in 60% of floriculturists, while no adducts were generally detected in controls. Our study represents an important contribution to the correct evaluation of the potential health risk associated with floriculture activity and supports the adoption of measures ensuring pesticide exposure reduction in greenhouses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • P-DNA postlabeling
  • DNA odducts
  • Greenhouse floriculturists
  • Pesticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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