Evaluation of the DNA damage in lymphocytes, sperm and buccal cells of workers under environmental and occupational boron exposure conditions

Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2019 Jul;843:33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2018.12.013. Epub 2018 Dec 23.


Industrial production and use of boron compounds have increased during the last decades, especially for the manufacture of borosilicate glass, fiberglass, metal alloys and flame retardants. This study was conducted in two districts of Balıkesir; Bandırma and Bigadic, which geographically belong to the Marmara Region of Turkey. Bandırma is the production and exportation zone for the produced boric acid and some borates and Bigadic has the largest B deposits in Turkey. 102 male workers who were occupationally exposed to boron from Bandırma and 110 workers who were occupationally and environmentally exposed to boron from Bigadic participated to our study. In this study the DNA damage in the sperm, blood and buccal cells of 212 males was evaluated by comet and micronucleus assays. No significant increase in the DNA damage in blood, sperm and buccal cells was observed in the residents exposed to boron both occupationally and environmentally (p = 0.861) for Comet test in the sperm samples, p = 0.116 for Comet test in the lymphocyte samples, p = 0.042 for micronucleus (MN) test, p = 0.955 for binucleated cells (BN), p = 1.486 for condensed chromatin (CC), p = 0.455 for karyorrhectic cells (KHC), p = 0.541 for karyolitic cells (KLY), p = 1.057 for pyknotic cells (PHC), p = 0.331 for nuclear bud (NBUD)). No correlations were seen between blood boron levels and tail intensity values of the sperm samples, lymphocyte samples, frequencies of MN, BN, KHC, KYL, PHC and NBUD. The results of this study came to the same conclusions of the previous studies that boron does not induce DNA damage even under extreme exposure conditions.

Keywords: Boric acid; Boron exposure; Comet assay; DNA damage.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Biological Monitoring
  • Boron / blood
  • Boron / toxicity*
  • Comet Assay*
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • DNA Damage*
  • Epidermal Cells / chemistry
  • Epidermal Cells / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / chemistry
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Spermatozoa / chemistry
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Turkey


  • Boron