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||O6-alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferase activity in student embalmers.
||Hayes RB, Klein S, Suruda A, Schulte P, Boeniger M, Stewart P, Livingston GK, Oesch F
||Am J Ind Med
||O6-Alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) activity was assessed in peripheral blood lymphocytes among 23 mortuary science students before and after 9 weeks in a laboratory course in techniques of embalming. Formaldehyde exposure was established by environmental monitoring. The average air concentration of formaldehyde during embalming was about 1.5 ppm. At the pre-exposure sampling, baseline DNA repair capacity tended to be reduced in subjects who reported a prior history of embalming (p = 0.08). From pre- to post-exposure, 17 subjects decreased in DNA repair capacity, while only 6 increased (p < 0.05). Analysis of variance, including adjustment for age, sex, and smoking status, confirmed these findings. Among the eight subjects who had no embalming experience during the 90 days before study, seven had decreased and one had increased AGT activity during the period of study (p < 0.05). For those with prior embalming experience, 10 subjects decreased in AGT activity, while 5 increased (p < 0.05). Although the major chemical exposure in embalming practice was to formaldehyde, no clear link was established between amount of formaldehyde exposure and AGT activity.