Open Access

Prenatal, Early Life, and Childhood Exposure to Genotoxicants in the Living Environment

Health disorders and diseases related to environmental exposure in children such as cancer and immunologic disturbances (asthma, allergies) are on the rise. However, complex transplacental and prepubertal genotoxicology is given very limited consideration, even though intrauterine development and early childhood may be critical for elucidating the cancer aetiology. The foetus is transplacentally exposed to contaminants in food and environment such as various chemicals, drugs, radiochemically contaminated water and air. Target organs of xenobiotic action may differ between the mother and the foetus due to specific stage of developmental physiology and enzyme distribution. This in turn may lead to different levels of clastogenic and aneugenic metabolites of the same xenobiotic in the mother and the foetus. Adult's protective behaviour is not sufficient to isolate children from radioisotopes, pesticides, toxic metals and metalloids, environmental tobacco smoke, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and various food contaminants, which are just a part of the stressors present in a polluted environment. In order to improve legislation related to foetus and child exposure to genotoxic and possibly carcinogenic agents, oncologists, paediatricians, environmental health specialists, and genotoxicologists should work together much more closely to make a more effective use of accumulated scientific data, with the final aim to lower cancer incidence and mortality.

English, Slovenian
Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Basic Medical Science, other