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Use of the glycophorin A human mutation assay to study workers exposed to styrene.


The glycophorin A (GPA) assay is a human mutation assay that is potentially useful for large epidemiological studies. The assay is rapid and requires a minimal amount of blood, which can be stored before analysis. The data presented here were collected from workers exposed to styrene in a boat manufacturing plant. This study was the first to apply the GPA assay to an occupationally exposed population. Subjects with a mean styrene exposure of 30 ppm had a higher frequency of GPA N phi variant cells than subjects with mean exposure of 1 ppm, but the subjects differed in respect to smoking and age distribution. Results indicate that the original 1-W-1 version of the assay may not be suitable for studies of small numbers of exposed subjects due to variability and artifacts. The newer BR6 version, however, has much lower variability and shows promise for use in the occupational setting.

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