Human biomonitoring: state of the art. Int J Hyg Environ Health

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (Impact Factor: 3.83). 06/2007; 210(3-4):201-28. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2007.01.024
Source: PubMed


Human biomonitoring (HBM) of dose and biochemical effect nowadays has tremendous utility providing an efficient and cost effective means of measuring human exposure to chemical substances. HBM considers all routes of uptake and all sources which are relevant making it an ideal instrument for risk assessment and risk management. HBM can identify new chemical exposures, trends and changes in exposure, establish distribution of exposure among the general population, identify vulnerable groups and populations with higher exposures and identify environmental risks at specific contaminated sites with relatively low expenditure. The sensitivity of HBM methods moreover enables the elucidation of human metabolism and toxic mechanisms of the pollutants. So, HBM is a tool for scientists as well as for policy makers. Blood and urine are by far the most approved matrices. HBM can be done for most chemical substances which are in the focus of the worldwide discussion of environmental medicine. This especially applies for metals, PAH, phthalates, dioxins, pesticides, as well as for aromatic amines, perfluorinated chemicals, environmental tobacco smoke and volatile organic compounds. Protein adducts, especially Hb-adducts, as surrogates of DNA adducts measuring exposure as well as biochemical effect very specifically and sensitively are a still better means to estimate cancer risk than measuring genotoxic substances and their metabolites in human body fluids. Using very sophisticated but nevertheless routinely applicable analytical procedures Hb-adducts of alkylating agents, aromatic amines and nitro aromatic compounds are determined routinely today. To extend the spectrum of biochemical effect monitoring further methods should be elaborated which put up with cleavage and separation of the adducted protein molecules as a measure of sample preparation. This way all sites of adduction as well as further proteins, like serum albumin could be used for HBM. DNA-adducts indicate the mutagenicity of a chemical substance as well as an elevated cancer risk. DNA-adducts therefore would be ideal parameters for HBM. Though there are very sensitive techniques for DNA adduct monitoring like P32-postlabelling and immunological methods they lack specificity. For elucidating the mechanism of carcinogenesis and for a broad applicability and comparability in epidemiological studies analytical methods must be elaborated which are strictly specific for the chemical structure of the DNA-adduct. Current analytical possibilities however meet their borders. In HBM studies with exposure to genotoxic chemicals especially the measurement of DNA strand breaks in lymphocytes and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) in white blood cells has become very popular. However, there is still a lack of well-established dose-response relations between occupational or environmental exposures and the induction of 8-OHdG or formation of strand breaks which limits the applicability of these markers. Most of the biomarkers used in population studies are covered by standard operating procedures (SOPs) as well as by internal and external quality assessment schemes. Therefore, HBM results from the leading laboratories worldwide are analytically reliable and comparable. Newly upcoming substances of environmental relevance like perfluorinated compounds can rapidly be assessed in body fluids because there are very powerful laboratories which are able to elaborate the analytical prerequisites in due time. On the other hand, it is getting more and more difficult for the laboratories to keep up with a progress in instrumental analyses. In spite of this it will pay to reach the ultimate summit of HBM because it is the only way to identify and quantify human exposure and risk, elucidate the mechanism of toxic effects and to ultimately decide if measures have to be taken to reduce exposure. Risk assessment and risk management without HBM lead to wrong risk estimates and cause inadequate measures. In some countries like in USA and in Germany, thousands of inhabitants are regularly investigated with respect to their internal exposure to a broad range of environmentally occurring substances. For the evaluation of HBM results the German HBM Commission elaborates reference- and HBM-values.

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    • "As a consequence, humans are exposed to these chemicals via dermal, oral or inhalative uptake. Human exposure to chemicals can be assessed by monitoring of human fluids and tissues [2]. Urine is the most important pathway for excretion of environmental chemicals and metabolites thereof. "
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    ABSTRACT: Today there is a large difference in the number of chemicals of commerce and the number of chemicals being monitored in environmental and human samples. During the last decades suspect screening methods have been developed to increase the number of monitored analytes. Peaks detected during high resolution mass spectrometry full scan measurements are compared to a list of suspect chemicals with known exact masses. These methods, however, have so far focused on environmental samples. Thus we present a method development for a suspect screening of human urine samples. The sample preparation techniques and instrumental analysis were tested by target chemicals with a wide range of properties. A combination of direct injection and QuEChERS extraction followed by liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry was able to detect 33 of the 40 spiked target compounds at 30-120% absolute recovery. For suspect evaluation peaks were deconvoluted and aligned with the software MZmine followed by R script processing. Comparing detected and in-silico fragmentation, nine suspect chemicals could be tentatively identified in a pooled human urine sample and four of these were confirmed by a reference standard. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Chromatography A 04/2015; 1394(1):18-25. DOI:10.1016/j.chroma.2015.03.040 · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    • "Excessive Mn exposure can result in adverse effects on lungs, liver, kidney and the central nervous system (ATSDR, 2008), but there is insufficient evidence to indicate that Mn exposure produces cancer in humans (Assem et al., 2011). Human biomonitoring is an important tool for determining background levels of exposure to environmental chemicals in the population, and for identifying trends in exposure levels and population subgroups with higher exposures (Angerer et al., 2007). The United States, Europe and countries such as Korea have established biomonitoring programs for several environmental pollutants, including heavy metals (Puklová, 2008; CDC, 2009; Lee et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to investigate the distribution and factors influencing blood levels of Cadmium (Cd), Arsenic (As), and Manganese (Mn), and to determine their reference values in a sample of blood donors residing in Rio Branco, capital city of Acre State, Brazil. Blood samples were collected from all blood donors attending the Central Hemotherapic Unit in Rio Branco between 2010 and 2011. Among these, 1183 donors (98.9%) answered to a questionnaire on sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. Blood metal concentrations were determined by atomic spectrometry. Association between Cd, As and Mn levels and donors' characteristics was examined by linear regression analysis. Reference values were estimated as the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval of the 95th percentile of metal levels. References values were 0.87μgL(-1) for Cd, 9.87μgL(-1) for As, and 29.32μgL(-1) for Mn. Reference values of Cd and As in smokers were 2.66 and 10.86μgL(-1), respectively. Factors contributing to increase Cd levels were smoking, ethnicity (non-white), and lower education, whereas drinking tea and non-bottled water were associated with lower Cd. Lower levels of As were associated with higher household income, living near industrial facilities, working in a glass factory, a compost plant or in metal mining activities. Risk factors for Mn exposure were not identified. In general, blood Cd concentrations were in the range of exposure levels reported for other people from the general population, whereas levels of As and Mn were higher than in other non-occupationally exposed populations elsewhere. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Chemosphere 02/2015; 128C:70-78. DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.12.083 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    • "Traditionally, efforts to control public exposure to environmental stressors focused on regulating the levels of harmful chemicals in different sources such as the food chain, the environment and consumer products. Advancements in analytical chemistry have enabled measurements of low levels of toxic chemicals or their metabolites in human specimens [5]. This methodology, known as human biomonitoring (HBM), can provide the " body burden " i.e. the total amount of a certain pollutant in the human body at a given point in time, since it integrates the exposure to the pollutant from all sources and can be valuable for the validation of public health policies (for example see [6]). "
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    ABSTRACT: To advance human biomonitoring (HBM) for policy support in Europe, a harmonized approach was developed (COPHES project, FP7 2009- 2012) and evaluated in 17 countries (DEMOCOPHES project, Life+, 2010-2012). Cyprus (CY) and Luxembourg (LU) tested the hypothesis that the COPHES European Protocol is applicable to small countries.Materials and methods: In 2011-12, the European Protocol was adopted and tested by CY and LU for the harmonized biomonitoring of 60 children and their mothers for cadmium, phthalates and cotinine in urine and for mercury in scalp hair in two sampling areas (urban, rural). Results: Both small countries achieved the preset goals for recruitment, sample collection and analysis, which allowed for the first time the assessment of children’s and mothers’ exposures to the selected chemicals in comparison with other countries. Capacity building was accomplished and communication actions were particularly effective, with both countries taking advantage of their small size to access participants, policy makers, other stakeholders and the press. Time constrains and requirements for capacity building were limiting factors. Conclusion: The COPHES European Protocol for HBM surveys is attainable in small countries. The following elements are fundamental in the design of a harmonized European HBM program, from the perspective of small countries: (a) consultation with and active involvement of the implementing countries, (b) flexibility for national decisions, while not compromising harmonization, (c) elaboration of standardized methods, procedures and documents (d) quality assurance mechanisms, (e) means of training and support.
    01/2015; 2(1). DOI:10.1515/bimo-2015-0005
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