Exposure to asbestos minerals has been associated with a wide variety of adverse health effects including lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma, and cancer of other organs. It was shown previously that asbestos samples collected from a local asbestos factory enhanced sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) and chromosomal aberrations in vitro using human lymphocytes. In the present study, 22 workers from the same factory and 12 controls were further investigated. Controls were matched for age, sex, and socioeconomic state. The peripheral blood lymphocytes were cultured and harvested at 48 hours for studies of chromosomal aberrations and at 72 hours for SCE frequency determinations. Asbestos workers had a raised mean SCE rate and increased numbers of chromosomal aberrations compared with a control population. Most of the chromosomal aberrations were chromatid gap and break types.
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