Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Trash DNA
Smoking Study Shows Cigarettes Damage Genetic DNA
Written By Elizabeth Price
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota reveals cigarette smoke causes genetic damage in a matter of minutes.
The study, published by the journal “Chemical Research in Toxicology”, suggests that just a few minutes of smoking can lead to cancer linked genetic damage. Prior to the study, many believed that it could take years of smoking to cause cancer related damage to the body. However, according to lead researcher, Sr. Stephen Hecht, “The effect is so fast that it’s equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream.”
The study is the first investigation of human metabolism of PAH, caused specifically by inhaling cigarette smoke alone. Dr. Hecht and the research team, observed 12 participants over a course of time. The team tracked pollutants commonly known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These pollutants are frequently formed while burning gas, coal, oil, wood and tobacco. The focal pollutant of the PAH’s was phenanthrene, which was found to “trash DNA” quickly by forming a toxic substance in the blood.
The observations showed that volunteers peaked maximum levels of the substance in the blood stream in just 15-30 minutes after the participants finished smoking. The study revealed the importance of the findings, saying, “These results are significant because PAH diol epoxides react readily with DNA, induce mutations, and are considered to be ultimate carcinogens of multiple PAH in cigarette smoke.”
The research team did not expect the chemicals to take effects in such a short time period. Scientists involved in the study called the findings a “stark warning” to smokers.
editors note: can you imagine what the PAH’s from the dispersants in the air on the Gulf Coast are doing to the residents?