Mixture of betel leaf, areca nut and tobacco chewing is a risk factor for cytogenetic damage in construction workers from south India
Keywords:Betel leaf, Areca nut, Tobacco snuff, Chromosomal aberration, Micronucleus
AbstractAim: To determine the cytogenetic effect of betel leaf, areca nut and tobacco mixture usage among female construction workers in Tamilnadu, Southern India. Methods: Totally 236 buccal cells and blood samples were collected from 80 betel quid users and 76 users with tobacco snuffing habit which were compared with 80 healthy subjects. Peripheral blood leukocyte cultures were analyzed for chromosomal aberrations (CA) and exfoliated cells from the buccal mucosa were examined for micronucleus (MN). Results: Statistically significant (p<0.01) increase in CA and MN were observed in users with snuffing habit when compared to users without snuffing habit and controls as confirmed by chi-square test. Therefore, specific biomarkers on cytogenetic endpoints might help in planning precautionary measures to reduce oral cancer risks. Conclusions: The present study can be concluded that a mixture of betel quid, areca nut and tobacco chewing/snuffing is unsafe for oral health. The genotoxic effect of smokeless tobacco should be considered in addition to other known hazards for assessing health risks.
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