PMID: 2655178Jan 1, 1989

In situ assessment of genotoxic hazards of environmental pollution

Toxicology and Industrial Health
S S Sandhu, W R Lower


The potential impact of the environmental pollutants on human health can be evaluated by the laboratory analysis of the environmental samples or by the measurement of the biological effects on indigenous populations and/or specific test organisms placed in the environment to be monitored. A canary in a cage, used by 19th century miners as a biological indicator for rising levels of toxic gases, is a classical example of in situ hazard identification. The induced toxic effects are often the result of synergistic and antagonistic interactions among various physical and chemical factors that are difficult to reproduce in the laboratory. Therefore, conceivably the biological effects measured on or near the impacted site have greater relevancy for hazard assessment to man than from the data derived from the environmental samples analyzed in the lab. The organisms most commonly employed for the assessment of mutagenicity under real-world conditions are: (1) flowering plants, (2) wild and captive mammals, and (3) aquatic vertebrates. Plant species such as Tradescantia paludosa, Zea mays, and Osmunda regalis have been used for monitoring ambient air quality around several major industrial cities in the U.S.A., nuclear power plants, and...Continue Reading


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