Occupational exposure to pesticides: DNA damage in horticulturist from Nativitas, Tlaxcala in Mexico


Mexico is a country where agricultural activity is of great importance, but biomonitoring data are still scarce. With more intensive pesticides use per unit area/surface in horticultural productivity, there is a higher impact on environmental contamination and workers’ health. Considering that exposure to various pesticide and pesticide mixtures represents an additional genotoxic risk, the appropriate characterization of exposure, confounding factors and the risk itself are very much needed. We compared genetic damage in 42 horticulturists and 46 unexposed controls (Nativitas, Tlaxcala) using alkaline comet (whole blood) and micronucleus (MN) test with nuclear abnormalities (NA) (buccal epithelial cells). Workers demonstrated significantly higher levels of damage (TI%=14.02 ± 2.49 vs. 5.37 ± 0.46; MN=10.14 ± 5.15 vs. 2.40 ± 0.20), with more than 90% of them not using protective clothing nor gloves during application. Combined DNA damage techniques and periodic monitoring together with educational programs for safe pesticide application is the best strategy to assess and prevent workers’ health risks.

Authors: Sánchez-Alarcón Juana, Milić Mirta, Bonassi Stefano, Gómez-Arroyo Sandra, Cortés-Eslava Josefina, Flores-Márquez Ana Rosa, Valencia-Sánchez Rafael Alexander, Valencia-Quintana Rafael
; Full Source: Environmental toxicology and pharmacology 2023 May 3;100:104141. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2023.104141.