EMAIL THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND

Environmental and molecular mutagenesis

Genetic toxicity of malathion: a review.


PMID 8339727

Abstract

Mammalian in vivo and in vitro studies of technical or commercial grade malathion and its metabolite malaoxon show a pattern of induction of chromosome damage, as measured by chromosome aberrations, sister chromatid exchanges, and micronuclei. Experiments with purified (> 99%) malathion gave weak or negative results. In contrast to the cytogenetic effects of technical grade malathion, responses in gene mutation assays were generally negative except for malaoxon, which was positive for mammalian gene mutations in both tested instances. This result also could be a consequence of chromosome level changes, however. Dermal exposure, a common human route, caused cytogenetic damage in test animals at doses near those producing positive results by intraperitoneal injection. Workers who apply technical grade malathion and other pesticides have higher levels of chromosomal damage than unexposed individuals. Because of the inactivity of malathion mixtures in gene mutation assays, malathion has been thought to be of little genotoxic concern. However, the pattern of chromosome damage in animals and mammalian cells in culture (including human) indicates that technical grade malathion and its components have not been adequately studied for genotoxic potential in humans.