The aim of the MAPEC_LIFE (Monitoring Air Pollution Effects on Children for Supporting Public Health Policy) study is to evaluate the associations between the concentrations of air pollutants and early biological effects in children living in five Italian towns (Brescia, Torino, Lecce, Perugia and Pisa) characterised by varying levels of air pollution. This paper presents the results of micronucleus cytome assays performed on the oral mucosa cells of subjects living in Lecce (Puglia, Italy) and their relationship to factors associated with indoor/outdoor exposure and lifestyles. The study was conducted on 6-8-year-old schoolchildren living in Lecce. The micronucleus cytome assay was performed on exfoliated buccal cells collected from the oral mucosa of children using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Micronuclei were evaluated only in normal differentiated cells. Overall, 43.0% of the samples tested were positive, with an average frequency of 0.28 MN/1000 differentiated cells. Data analysis shows positive associations between the frequency of MN in the children’s buccal mucosa cells and obesity, heavy traffic and smoking mothers, while outdoor sports seem to have the opposite effect. These data will be integrated with data from the other cities involved in the MAPEC_LIFE study and could be used to build a model for estimating global genotoxic risk.
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