Research Articles

Human genotoxicity: pesticide applicators and phosphine

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Science  13 Oct 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4927, pp. 251-255
DOI: 10.1126/science.2799386


Fumigant applicators who, 6 weeks to 3 months earlier, were exposed to phosphine, a common grain fumigant, or to phosphine and other pesticides had significantly increased stable chromosome rearrangements, primarily translocations in G-banded lymphocytes. Less stable aberrations including chromatid deletions and gaps were significantly increased only during the application season, but not at this later time point. During fumigant application, measured exposure to phosphine exceeds accepted national standards. Because phosphine is also used as a dopant in the microchip industry and is generated in waste treatment, the possibility of more widespread exposure and long-term health sequelae must be considered.

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