There has been a growing awareness of the potential health hazards of exposure to toxins in the environment. Of great concern has been a recent report that naphthalene exposure can cause chromosomal damage in kids. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health has reported in a news release “Children Exposed to Naphthalene—a Common Pollutant Best Known as the Key Ingredient in Mothballs—Show Signs of Chromosomal Damage.”
Children who are exposed to high levels of the common air pollutant naphthalene have been found to be at increased risk for chromosomal aberrations (CAs), which have been previously associated with cancer. These aberrations include chromosomal translocations, a potentially more harmful and long-lasting subtype of CAs. These findings have been reported by researchers from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Naphthalene can be found in both outdoor and indoor urban air. Naphthalene has been found to be present in automotive exhaust, tobacco smoke, and is the primary component of household mothball fumes. Naphthalene belongs to a class of air pollutants called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Cancer Research. Prior research has established there is a link between prenatal exposure to PAH and increased risk for childhood obesity, IQ deficits, and CAs. This new study is the first which has demonstrated evidence in humans of CAs, which includes translocations, associated with exposure to one specific PAH, naphthalene, during childhood. Every effort should therefore clearly be taken to avoid childhood exposure to naphthalene.
Mandel News Service