A genotoxic assessment of environmental tobacco smoke using bacterial bioassays

Mutat Res. 1989 Feb;222(2):81-99. doi: 10.1016/0165-1218(89)90022-0.


Recently, the National Research Council in the U.S.A. stated that laboratory studies of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) should be important in identifying ETS carcinogens, their concentrations in typical daily environments, and in understanding how these compounds contribute to ETS dose-response relationships. This paper demonstrates that integrated chemical and bacterial mutagenicity information can be used to identify ETS genotoxicants, monitor human exposure, and make comparative assessments. Approximately 1/3 of the ETS constituents for which there is quantitative analytical chemistry information also have associated genotoxicity information. For example, 11 of the quantitated compounds are animal carcinogens. Work presented in this paper demonstrates that both the nonparticle-bound semivolatile and the particulate-bound organic material contain bacterial mutagens. These ETS organics give an equivalent of approximately 86,000 revertants per cigarette. In addition, this article summarized efforts to estimate ETS bacterial mutagenicity, to use bacterial tests for the monitoring of ETS-impacted indoor environments, and to use bacterial assays for the direct monitoring of human exposure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mutagens / analysis*
  • Mutagens / pharmacology
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*


  • Mutagens
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution