In this study, we estimated the possibility of using benchmark dose (BMD) to assess the dose-response relationship between vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) exposure and chromosome damage. A group of 317 workers occupationally exposed to vinyl chloride monomer and 166 normal, unexposed control in Shandong Province northern China were examined for chromosomal damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) using the cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus (CB-MN) assay of DNA damage. The exposed group (3.47 ± 2.65)‰ showed higher micronucleus frequency than the control (1.60 ± 1.30)‰ (P < 0.01). Occupational exposure level based on micronucleus occurrence in all individuals was analyzed with benchmark dose (BMD) methods. The benchmark dose lower limit of a one-sided 95% confidence interval (BMDL) for 10% excess risk was also determined. Results showed a dose-response relationship between cumulative exposure and MN frequency, and a BMDL of 0.54 mg/m3 and 0.23 mg/m3 for males and females, respectively. Female workers were more susceptible to MN damage than male workers.
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