Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2015;41(6):579-593    pdf full text

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3523

Dysregulation of markers of oxidative stress and DNA damage among nail technicians despite low exposure to volatile organic compounds

by Grešner P, Stepnik M, Król MB, Swiercz R, Smok-Pieniazek A, Twardowska E, Gromadzinska J, Wasowicz W

Objective The study aimed to compare levels of selected biomarkers of oxidative stress and DNA damage and their correlation with occupational exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOC) among female nail technicians and a group of unexposed volunteers.

Methods A panel of biomarkers of oxidative stress and DNA damage was assayed among 145 female nail technicians and 152 healthy female volunteers. Occupational exposure of nail technicians to VOC was assessed analyzing the VOC content in nail salon air samples.

Results The level of occupational exposure of nail technicians to VOC was below the respective threshold limit values with combined airborne exposure to a mixture of VOC, reaching only 3.3% (range 0.2–33.3%) of the threshold limit. Despite that, nail technicians presented increased activity of glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1), plasma ceruloplasmin, and the GPx1/superoxide dismutase 1 ratio (P<0.0001). The levels of plasma thiobarbituric acid-reactive species and DNA strand breakage in blood leukocytes were not significantly different. In contrast, total and oxidatively-generated DNA damage were significantly decreased among nail technicians compared to controls (P<0.0001). The individual’s current tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption status did not modulate the observed changes. Significant correlations between selected biomarkers of oxidative stress, DNA damage, and airborne levels of VOC (eg, ethanol) were found.

Conclusions The levels of biomarkers of oxidative stress and DNA damage among nail technicians seem to be dysregulated despite the low level of occupational exposure to VOC. Although the outcomes are not fully conclusive, our findings point to possible causation related to prolonged low-level occupational exposure to VOC.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 1998;24(4):270-275