The possible contribution to urinary mutagenicity of occupational exposures in the rubber industry was studied by assaying the urine concentrates of 72 workmen (44 smokers) employed in a tyre plant. Twenty three clerks (16 smokers) engaged in the administrative department of the same factory served as presumptive unexposed controls. XAD-2 resin concentrates of urine samples were assayed in the plate incorporation test and in the microtitre fluctuation assay with Salmonella typhimurium strains TA1535, TA98, and TA100. Furthermore, the in vitro mutagenicity of the major raw materials in use at the plant was determined in the plate incorporation assay with S typhimurium strains TA1535, TA1537, TA98, and TA100. The results obtained from the urinary mutagenicity study show that smoking habits, but not occupation, were statistically significantly related to the appearance of a urinary mutagenicity that was detectable with strain TA98. A possible synergistic effect of occupation with smoking was observed among tyre builders who were also smokers. The study of the raw materials showed that three technical grade materials were weakly active as mutagens in strain TA98 in the absence (poly-p-dinitrosobenzene) or in the presence of metabolic activation (mixed diaryl-p-phenylendiamines and tetramethyltiuram disulphide). The latter chemical was also weakly active in strain TA100.
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