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WHAT DOES BIOMONITORING REALLY TELL US?
Birnbaum, L S. AND H Zenick. WHAT DOES BIOMONITORING REALLY TELL US? Presented at ICTX Satellite Meeting, Porvoo, Finland, July 7-10, 2004.
In January, 2003, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released the 2nd National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, a "report card" of biomonitoring information for 116 synthetic chemicals and their metabolites, in addition to the 27 chemicals reported on in 2001, in the blood and urine of a population- based, statistical sample of the civilian US population. The initiative by CDC will greatly enhance the information on chemicals present in blood and/or urine of the U.S. population. However, considerable research will be needed to actual interpret such biomonitoring data to address public concerns and questions such as: What do "snapshot in time" measurements tell us? What does it mean if chemicals are found in blood and not urine? What does it mean for health consequences? Clearly, measurements of chemicals in biological samples tell us some exposure has occurred, but we must have information on the kinetic behavior of these chemicals to better understand what the exposure(s) means. For a persistent chemical, the measurement may reflect integrated exposure over time, but with only one measurement, there is no way to tell whether this represents a peak, an average of ongoing exposure, or a decline. For rapidly eliminated chemicals, measurement implies ongoing exposure, but says little about history, or peak concentration. If there are multiple metabolites which are to the ones of concern that should be followed? For each chemical measured, knowledge of the appropriate dosemetric is critical to relating the measurement to a potential health outcome. Information on windows of susceptibility is also key to relating the measured level to potential effects. The potential that biomonitoring data presents will be most useful when accompanied by pharmacokinetics, dosemetrics, and effects data. (This abstract does not reflect EPA policy.)