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Article

How Many Urine Samples Are Needed to Accurately Assess Exposure to Non-Persistent Chemicals? The Biomarker Reliability Assessment Tool (BRAT) for Scientists, Research Sponsors, and Risk Managers

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Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC H3T 1A8, Canada
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Centre de Recherche en Santé Publique, Université de Montréal et CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, Montreal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
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Independent Consultant, Winter Springs, FL 32708, USA
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Scientist Emeritus and Former Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, Research Triangle Park, NC 27514, USA
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CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre Mother and Child University Hospital Center, Montreal, QC H3T 1C5, Canada
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Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, QC H3A 1A3, Canada
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Summit Toxicology, LLP, Falls Church, VA 22044, USA
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Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
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Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
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LaKind Associates, LLC, Catonsville, MD 21228, USA
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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239102
Received: 27 October 2020 / Revised: 27 November 2020 / Accepted: 1 December 2020 / Published: 6 December 2020
In epidemiologic and exposure research, biomonitoring is often used as the basis for assessing human exposure to environmental chemicals. Studies frequently rely on a single urinary measurement per participant to assess exposure to non-persistent chemicals. However, there is a growing consensus that single urine samples may be insufficient for adequately estimating exposure. The question then arises: how many samples would be needed for optimal characterization of exposure? To help researchers answer this question, we developed a tool called the Biomarker Reliability Assessment Tool (BRAT). The BRAT is based on pharmacokinetic modeling simulations, is freely available, and is designed to help researchers determine the approximate number of urine samples needed to optimize exposure assessment. The BRAT performs Monte Carlo simulations of exposure to estimate internal levels and resulting urinary concentrations in individuals from a population based on user-specified inputs (e.g., biological half-life, within- and between-person variability in exposure). The BRAT evaluates—through linear regression and quantile classification—the precision/accuracy of the estimation of internal levels depending on the number of urine samples. This tool should guide researchers towards more robust biomonitoring and improved exposure classification in epidemiologic and exposure research, which should in turn improve the translation of that research into decision-making. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomonitoring; non-persistent chemicals; exposure assessment; within- and between-person variability; environmental epidemiology; urine sampling; pharmacokinetic modeling; exposure misclassification biomonitoring; non-persistent chemicals; exposure assessment; within- and between-person variability; environmental epidemiology; urine sampling; pharmacokinetic modeling; exposure misclassification
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MDPI and ACS Style

Verner, M.-A.; Salame, H.; Housand, C.; Birnbaum, L.S.; Bouchard, M.F.; Chevrier, J.; Aylward, L.L.; Naiman, D.Q.; LaKind, J.S. How Many Urine Samples Are Needed to Accurately Assess Exposure to Non-Persistent Chemicals? The Biomarker Reliability Assessment Tool (BRAT) for Scientists, Research Sponsors, and Risk Managers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239102

AMA Style

Verner M-A, Salame H, Housand C, Birnbaum LS, Bouchard MF, Chevrier J, Aylward LL, Naiman DQ, LaKind JS. How Many Urine Samples Are Needed to Accurately Assess Exposure to Non-Persistent Chemicals? The Biomarker Reliability Assessment Tool (BRAT) for Scientists, Research Sponsors, and Risk Managers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(23):9102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239102

Chicago/Turabian Style

Verner, Marc-André, Hassan Salame, Conrad Housand, Linda S. Birnbaum, Maryse F. Bouchard, Jonathan Chevrier, Lesa L. Aylward, Daniel Q. Naiman, and Judy S. LaKind. 2020. "How Many Urine Samples Are Needed to Accurately Assess Exposure to Non-Persistent Chemicals? The Biomarker Reliability Assessment Tool (BRAT) for Scientists, Research Sponsors, and Risk Managers" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 23: 9102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239102

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