|Children may be exposed to naphthalene through traffic|
exhaust, mothball fumes, smoke, paint and more.
Naphthalene is a common air pollutant that may have damaging effects in children.
Exposure to high levels of naphthalene is linked to a higher risk for chromosomal aberrations (CAs), which in turn have been associated with cancer, according to researchers from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) and other scientists.
One of the primary sources of naphthalene is from household mothball fumes, but children may also be exposed through automotive exhaust and tobacco smoke. Even paint fumes, cooking and heating have been identified as sources.
Naphthalene belongs to a class of air pollutants called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Cancer Research.
The researchers followed 113 five-year-old children that are participating in a larger cohort study in New York City and assessed their exposure to naphthalene from urine samples.
They also measured chromosomal aberrations and translocations in the children. The researchers will keep following the children to get a better sense of the long-term consequences of naphthalene exposure.
However, the study already shows how vulnerable children are to carcinogenic air pollutants, the senior author says.
The study’s findings are published in the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health
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