Male and female CD-1 mice were exposed to near ambient air concentrations of benzene by inhalation for 22 h per day, 7 days per week for 6 weeks. The concentrations were 0, 40, 100 and 1000 ppb. Significant increases in chromosome aberrations in spleen lymphocytes were observed in exposed compared with control mice except in the high-dose group (p < 0.05 for female mice in 2 experiments and for male mice in 1 experiment; p < 0.15 for male mice in the second experiment). A lack of increase in aberrations among mice of the high-dose group may be due to an induction of detoxifying enzymes as observed by us in a previous study (Au et al., 1988b). We also found that the female mice were more sensitive to the clastogenic activity of benzene than male mice under our experimental conditions. Our study serves to emphasize the need to conduct subchronic, low-dose in vivo genotoxicity studies using exposure conditions similar to those of humans, for evaluation of potential hazards. Our data suggest that the current occupational exposure concentrations for benzene (< 1000 ppb) may still be hazardous to humans.
- Chromosome aberrations
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