Air quality is a primary environmental concern in highly industrialised areas, with potential health effects in children residing nearby. The Sarroch industrial estate in Cagliari province, Sardinia Island, Italy, hosts the world's largest power plant and the second largest European oil refinery and petrochemical park. This industrial estate produces a complex mixture of air pollutants, including benzene, heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Thus, we conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate the prevalence of malondialdehyde-deoxyguanosine adducts in the nasal epithelium of 75 representative children, aged 6-14 years, attending primary and secondary schools in Sarroch in comparison with 73 rural controls. Additionally, the levels of bulky DNA adducts were analysed in a subset of 62 study children. DNA damage was measured by 32P-postlabelling methodologies. The air concentrations of benzene and ethyl benzene were measured in the school gardens of Sarroch and a rural village by diffusive samplers. Outdoor measurements were also performed in other Sarroch areas and in the proximity of the industrial estate. The outdoor levels of benzene and ethyl benzene were significantly higher in the school gardens of Sarroch than in the rural village. Higher concentrations were also found in other Sarroch areas and in the vicinity of the industrial park. The mean levels of malondialdehyde-deoxyguanosine adducts per 10 normal nucleotides ± standard error (SE) were 74.6±9.1 and 34.1±4.4 in the children from Sarroch and the rural village, respectively. The mean ratio was 2.53, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.71-2.89, P <0.001, versus rural controls. Similarly, the levels of bulky DNA adducts per 10 normal nucleotides ± SE were 2.9±0.4 and 1.6±0.2 in the schoolchildren from Sarroch and the rural village, respectively. The means ratio was 1.90, 95% CI: 1.25-2.89, P = 0.003 versus rural controls. Our study indicates that children residing near the industrial estate have a significant increment of DNA damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis