Occupational exposure to Mount Etna’s basaltic dust: Assessment of mutagenic and cytotoxic effects

Basalt and volcanic ash are natural constituents of the ground surrounding volcanic areas such as Mount Etna. The dust may be daily inhaled by the general population as well as by several types of workers, such as construction workers. In this study, the authors analysed the potential mutagenic and cytotoxic effects of the materials used in construction industry, excavated from Mt. Etna. Ground basalt (A), volcanic ash (B), mixed basalt and cement (C) and cement (D) were studied with Ames test, for mutagenic assessment and with MMT assay for cytotoxic evaluation. The Ames test revealed that cement (sample D), showed a higher and significant mutagenicity than the samples A, B and C. MTT assay showed that samples C and D had a slightly more negative impact on cell viability than A and B. In conclusion, no particular risks seem to exist for construction industry workers, while the exploitation of cement and cement mixed with basalt seems to be a risk for workers, given the high percentage of silica and iron.

Authors: Ledda C, Cocuzza S, Salerno M, Senia P, Matera S, Rapisarda V, Loreto C. ;Full Source: Molecular Medicine Reports. 2017 Mar 24. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.6380. [Epub ahead of print] ;