Humans have throughout their development been exposed to various environmental genotoxicants through food, air, water, and soil. Environmental exposure to genotoxic compounds may induce damage to human health and thereby increase risks of human cancers and other diseases. Environmental genotoxic chemicals have the ability to induce mutations. Such mutations can give rise to cancer in somatic cells. However, when germ cells are affected, the damage can also have an effect on the next and successive generations. Because of the potential health hazard represented by exposure to genotoxic chemicals, it is important that all chemicals for which there is possible human exposure be screened for genotoxic activity. If genotoxic hazard is detected, then the risks of exposure can be assessed and the use of the chemical controlled and when appropriate eliminated from the market and the environment. In this chapter, a general overview of the genotoxicity and the genotoxicity of some environmental genotoxicants are discussed. This is followed by a description of the genotoxic properties of some environmental genotoxicants such as bisphenols and mycotoxins, which are prominent environmental contaminates, and is believed to be genotoxic agents that contribute to the high incidence of carcinogenicity among populations.
Part of the book: Environmental Health Risk