IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 129: Effect of Benzene Exposure on the Urinary Biomarkers of Nucleic Acid Oxidation in Two Cohorts of Gasoline Pump Attendants (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
(1) Background: The oxidized guanine derivatives excreted into urine, products of DNA and RNA oxidation and repair, are used as biomarkers of oxidative damage in humans. This study aims to evaluate oxidative damage in gasoline pump attendants occupationally exposed to benzene. Benzene is contained in the gasoline but it is also produced from traffic and from smoking. (2) Methods: Twenty-nine gasoline pump attendants from two major cities of Saudi Arabia and 102 from Italy were studied for urinary 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxoGua), 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodGuo), 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanosine (8-oxoGuo), and S-phenyl-mercapturic acid (SPMA) for benzene exposure and urinary cotinine for smoking status assessment by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Airborne benzene was also assessed in the Italian group by gas-chromatography with flame ionization detector (GC-FID). (3) Results: The results suggest that high levels of benzene exposure can cause an accumulation of SPMA and bring about the formation of the oxidation biomarkers studied to saturation. At low exposure levels, SPMA and oxidation biomarker levels were correlated among them and were associated with the smoking habit. (4) Conclusions: The study confirms the association between benzene exposure and the excretion of nucleic acid oxidation biomarkers and enhances the importance of measuring the smoking habit, as it can significantly influence oxidative damage, especially when the exposure levels are low.