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Geochemical compositional controls on DNA strand breaks induced in in vitro cell-free assays by crushed rock powders from the Panasqueira mine area, PortugalAbstract: DNA strand breaks are a common form of DNA damage that can contribute to chromosomal instability or gene mutations. Such strand breaks may be caused by exposure to heavy metals. The aim of this study was to assess the level of DNA strand breaks caused by µm-scale solid particles of known chemical composition with elevated heavy metals/metalloids, notably arsenic, using an in vitro cell-free DNA plasmid scission assay. These samples were incubated with and without H2O2 to see whether damage occurs directly or indirectly through the Fenton reaction. Levels of DNA damage in the absence of H2O2 were < 10%, but in the presence of H2O2, all samples showed higher levels of damage ranging from 10 to 100% suggesting that damage was being incurred through the Fenton reaction. Using bivariate correlation analysis and multiple linear regression, manganese oxide (MnO), sulphur (S), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) concentrations in the particulates were found to be the most significant predictors of DNA damage. The mechanism of this DNA damage formation has yet to be thoroughly investigated but is hypothesised to be due to reactive oxygen species formation. Further work is required to assess the extent of contribution of reactive oxygen species to this DNA damage, but this study highlights the potential role of chemistry and/or mineralogy to the extent and/or nature of DNA damage caused by particulates.