Genotoxicity

There are conflicting results from the studies on the genotoxic effects of trichloroethylene. Some studies have identified genotoxic effects, while others have not. Conflicting results may in some cases be due to the mutagenicity of breakdown products of trichloroethylene rather than trichloroethylene itself (IPCS, 1985).

Sixteen halogenated aliphatic hydrocarbons were assayed for genotoxicity using the Ara mutagenicity assay with Salmonella typhimurium (Roldan-Arjona et al., 1991). Trichloroethylene was non-mutagenic, both in the presence and absence of metabolic activation with a rat liver microsomal fraction (S9).

The frequency of sister chromatid exchanges in peripheral lymphocytes was studied in workers exposed to tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene. The groups included 38 men and women exposed to 7 ppm trichloroethylene and 19 men and women exposed to a mixture of 8 ppm trichloroethylene and 17 ppm tetrachloroethylene. There were no significant increases in the frequency of sister chromatid exchanges in association with exposure to trichloroethylene or trichloroethylene/tetrachloroethylene. However, the frequency of sister chromatid exchanges was significantly higher in the trichloroethylene and trichloroethylene/ tetrachloroethylene exposed smoking men than in non-smoking controls. This indicates a possible synergism between solvent exposure and smoking (Seiji et al., 1990).

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