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The Biomonitoring, Environmental Epidemiology, and Short-Lived Chemicals (BEES-C) Instrument for Assessing Study Quality
Sobus, J., J. LaKind, M. Goodman, D. Barr, P. Furst, R. Albertini, T. Arbuckle, G. Schoeters, C. Tan, J. Teeguarden, R. Tornero-Velez, AND C. Weisel. The Biomonitoring, Environmental Epidemiology, and Short-Lived Chemicals (BEES-C) Instrument for Assessing Study Quality. ISES 2014 Conference, Cincinnati, OH, October 12 - 16, 2014.
The National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) Human Exposure and Atmospheric Sciences Division (HEASD) conducts research in support of EPA mission to protect human health and the environment. HEASD research program supports Goal 1 (Clean Air) and Goal 4 (Healthy People) of EPA strategic plan. More specifically, our division conducts research to characterize the movement of pollutants from the source to contact with humans. Our multidisciplinary research program produces Methods, Measurements, and Models to identify relationships between and characterize processes that link source emissions, environmental concentrations, human exposures, and target-tissue dose. The impact of these tools is improved regulatory programs and policies for EPA.
Environmental epidemiology studies can be an effective means to assess impacts on human health from exposure to environmental stressors. Exposure scenarios are often extremely complex and proper assessment is critical for interpreting epidemiological study results. Biomarkers are now regularly utilized as exposure surrogates in environmental epidemiology studies. This strategy has proven effective for a small number of biomarkers (e.g., blood lead) that persist in the environment and human body. However, environmental epidemiology studies that utilize biomarkers of short-lived chemicals are considerably more challenging because it can be difficult to select and measure biomarkers that accurately reflect biologically relevant exposure to a specific chemical during a critical time window. There is currently limited guidance for thedesign, implementation, and interpretation of environmental epidemiology studies that utilize biomarkers of short-lived chemicals as quantitative exposure surrogates. To address this need, we developed the Biomonitoring, Environmental Epidemiology, and Short-Lived Chemicals (BEES-C) instrument. This instrument is intended to guide research proposals, technical manuscripts, and weight-of-evidence assessments based on quality criteria for: 1) biomarker selection and measurement, 2) study design and execution, and 3) general epidemiological considerations. This presentation will discuss key challenges in using biomarkers of short-lived chemicals in environmental epidemiology studies, highlight the key components of the BEES-C instrument, and offer examples for evaluating proposals/studies based on the BEES-C criteria.