Biomonitoring of Human Exposure: From Individual to Group Exposure Assessment

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Exposome Analysis and Risk Assessment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 34962

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Unit Environmental Hygiene and Human Biological Monitoring, Department of Health Protection, National Health Laboratory, 1, Rue Louis Rech, L-3555 Dudelange, Luxembourg
Interests: human biomonitoring; occupational exposure; indoor pollution

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The necessity of using human biomonitoring (HBM) for chemical health risk assessment in both the general population and workers has recently been brought to the fore. The analysis of environmental matrices may be insufficient to demonstrate the amount of compounds absorbed into the body. The analysis of biomarkers in biological samples to determine the internal dose is therefore an important asset in defining prevention strategies. Nevertheless, the interpretation of the HBM results might be challenging, since the absorbed dose is determined by many factors, including chemical concentration, the agent’s physicochemical properties, exposure duration, as well as individual factors including uptake, metabolism, etc. Classically, urine and blood are used to assist in the identification of health hazards. Nevertheless, other biological matrices might give access to a longer physiological half-life of the target compounds (e.g., in hair) or might be directly related to the target organs (e.g., exhaled breath condensate), and thus might be more relevant for health hazard identification.

In this Special Issue, we intend to demonstrate that the individual analysis of biomonitoring is a useful tool for personal exposure evaluation, providing information not given by inhalation and dermal exposure assessment. The appropriate utilization of HBM can further highlight personal living and/or working conditions and practices, taking into account individual differences and allowing more individualized measures to prevent exposure by changing individual behavior. Furthermore, HBM can help in identifying unintentional and unexpected exposures. Real-life examples from different occupational and private indoor environments are expected to showcase the benefits of HBM at individual as well as at group levels (e.g., epidemiological studies intended to link exposure to health data). Subsequently, the articles in this Special Issue are expected to give advice on the most suitable approaches for choosing the most appropriate biomarker and/or matrix, by showing their respective advantages and limitations.

Dr. Radu-Corneliu Duca
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • human biomonitoring
  • exposure biomarkers
  • effect biomarkers
  • matrices
  • occupational exposure
  • environmental exposure
  • indoor pollution
  • analytical methods
  • dermal exposure

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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9 pages, 1228 KiB  
Article
Chromosome Damage in Relation to Recent Radiation Exposure and Radiation Quality in Nuclear Power Plant Workers
by Yang Jee Kim, Joong Won Lee, Yoon Hee Cho, Young Joo Choi, Younghyun Lee and Hai Won Chung
Toxics 2022, 10(2), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10020094 - 18 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2713
Abstract
Ionizing radiation is a well-known carcinogen that causes genomic instability. However, the biological and carcinogenetic effects of occupational radiation exposure at low doses have not been extensively studied. The aim of this study was to assess chromosomal instability in power plant workers exposed [...] Read more.
Ionizing radiation is a well-known carcinogen that causes genomic instability. However, the biological and carcinogenetic effects of occupational radiation exposure at low doses have not been extensively studied. The aim of this study was to assess chromosomal instability in power plant workers exposed to occupational radiation at low doses in South Korea. Chromosomal aberrations in the lymphocytes of 201 nuclear power plant workers and 59 sex-matched controls were measured. Chromosomal aberrations in the lymphocytes of 201 nuclear power plant workers (mean age: 41.4 ± 10.0 years) and 59 sex-matched controls (mean age: 47.2 ± 6.0 years) were measured. A total of 500 metaphases for each subject were scored randomly. The means of recent 1.5-year, recent 5.5-year, and cumulative exposed radiation doses among workers were 8.22 ± 7.0 mSv, 30.7 ± 22.0 mSv, and 158.8 ± 86.1 mSv, respectively. The frequency of chromosome-type and chromatid-type aberrations was significantly higher in workers than that in the control group (p < 0.001), and the frequency of chromosome-type aberrations among workers increased in a radiation dose-dependent manner (τ = 0.16, p = 0.005). Poisson regression analyses revealed that chromosome-type aberrations were significantly associated with recent 1.5-year dose after adjusting for confounding variables such as age, smoking, and alcohol intake, even when only the exposed worker was considered. Frequency of multi-aberrant cells (two or more chromosome aberrations within a cell) increased according to cumulative neutron exposure. Our study demonstrates that chromosome damage can be induced in nuclear power plant workers occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation at low doses below the occupational permissible dose limit. Furthermore, an increase in multi-aberrant cells may provide evidence for chronic neutron exposure in nuclear power plant workers. This study was performed to obtain baseline data for a surveillance program of workers occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation long-term. Full article
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19 pages, 1976 KiB  
Article
The Parental Pesticide and Offspring’s Epigenome Study: Towards an Integrated Use of Human Biomonitoring of Exposure and Effect Biomarkers
by Aziza Menouni, Radu Corneliu Duca, Imane Berni, Mohamed Khouchoua, Manosij Ghosh, Brahim El Ghazi, Noura Zouine, Ilham Lhilali, Dina Akroute, Sara Pauwels, Matteo Creta, Katrien Poels, Peter Hoet, Jeroen Vanoirbeeck, Marie-Paule Kestemont, Paul Janssen, Tara Sabo Attwood, Lode Godderis and Samir El Jaafari
Toxics 2021, 9(12), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9120332 - 02 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3006
Abstract
In Morocco, due to the lack of education and the presence of a counterfeit market, pesticides constitute a major problem to be addressed by occupational and environmental health agencies. This paper aims to introduce the PaPOE (Parental Pesticides and Offspring Epigenome) prospective study [...] Read more.
In Morocco, due to the lack of education and the presence of a counterfeit market, pesticides constitute a major problem to be addressed by occupational and environmental health agencies. This paper aims to introduce the PaPOE (Parental Pesticides and Offspring Epigenome) prospective study and its goals, to motivate the study rationale and design, and to examine comprehensively whether multi-residue exposure to commonly used pesticides could induce epigenetic alterations through the oxidative stress pathway. The PaPOE project includes a cross-sectional study assessing the occupational exposure among 300 farmworkers in Meknes, and initiates a birth cohort of 1000 pregnant women. Data and biological samples are collected among farmworkers, and throughout pregnancy, and at birth. Oxidative stress biomarkers include Glutathione, Malondialdehyde, and 8-OHdG. Global and gene-specific DNA methylation is assessed. The study began enrollment in 2019 and is ongoing. As of 30 June 2021, 300 farmworkers and 125 pregnant women have enrolled. The results are expected to showcase the importance of biomonitoring for understanding individual risks, and to identify a number of regions where DNA methylation status is altered in the pesticides-exposed population, paving the way for an integrated biomonitoring system in Morocco and Africa to assess environmental exposures and their long-term health consequences. Full article
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11 pages, 1297 KiB  
Article
Necessity of Assessing Biological Exposure to Arsenic Species by Two Representative Analytical Methods
by Jeong-Wook Seo and Young-Seoub Hong
Toxics 2021, 9(6), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9060138 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2000
Abstract
Arsenic (As) exists as highly toxic chemical species. Chronic exposure to its inorganic form can cause multiple organ failure and skin cancer in humans, warranting the need to determine the toxicity of each chemical species. This study evaluated the proportions of exposure to [...] Read more.
Arsenic (As) exists as highly toxic chemical species. Chronic exposure to its inorganic form can cause multiple organ failure and skin cancer in humans, warranting the need to determine the toxicity of each chemical species. This study evaluated the proportions of exposure to four chemical species of As (cAs), namely arsenite (AsIII), arsenate (AsV), monomethylarsinic acid (MMA), and dimethylarsenic acid (DMA), and it confirmed the necessity of evaluating biological exposure to cAs. Urine samples were collected from 457 subjects residing near 103 abandoned metal mines. Hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy (HG-AAS) was performed to measure the combined concentration of four cAs (hAsAAS). High-performance liquid chromatography and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (HPLC-ICP-MS) were performed to determine the concentrations of the individual cAs and the sum of the four cAs (hAsICP). The proportions of AsV and MMA were relatively higher in the low-hAsICP concentration section. These findings suggest that hAsAAS, which is mainly used for its cost-efficiency, is limited for evaluating exposure. Though hAsAAS was found to exist in a low concentration, highly toxic AsV and MMA could be observed in high concentrations. Therefore, HPLC-ICP-MS is recommended for assessing cAs in environmentally vulnerable areas such as abandoned metal mines. Full article
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13 pages, 292 KiB  
Communication
Participant Experiences in a Human Biomonitoring Study: Follow-Up Interviews with Participants of the Flemish Environment and Health Study
by Bert Morrens, Hans Jonker, Elly Den Hond, Dries Coertjens, Ann Colles, Greet Schoeters, Nicolas Van Larebeke, Tim Nawrot, Adrian Covaci, Vera Nelen, Frédéric Vandermoere and Ilse Loots
Toxics 2021, 9(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9040069 - 28 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2568
Abstract
Communicating individual human biomonitoring results to study participants has been the subject of debate for some time. This debate is dominated by ethical considerations from a researchers’ perspective on whether or not to communicate, thereby overlooking more practice-based questions from a participants’ perspective [...] Read more.
Communicating individual human biomonitoring results to study participants has been the subject of debate for some time. This debate is dominated by ethical considerations from a researchers’ perspective on whether or not to communicate, thereby overlooking more practice-based questions from a participants’ perspective on what and how to communicate. We conducted a small scale follow-up study based on eleven face-to-face interviews with mothers participating in the third cycle of the Flemish Environment and Health Study (FLEHS III 2012–2015) to investigate how they experienced and interpreted individual biomonitoring results. Key findings indicate that respondents were generally satisfied with participating in the biomonitoring study, but the report-back process especially lacked contextualized information and interactive communication options to better comprehend and cope with personal results. These findings also argue in favor of a more tailored approach in which report-back methods, formats and content are diversified according to the type of results and the preferences of participants. A reflexive research practice with active engagement in follow-up research is crucial to improve participants’ understanding and use of personal biomonitoring results. Full article
16 pages, 2942 KiB  
Article
Assessment of 9-OH- and 7,8-diol-benzo[a]pyrene in Blood as Potent Markers of Cognitive Impairment Related to benzo[a]pyrene Exposure: An Animal Model Study
by Lynda Saber Cherif, Lei Cao-Lei, Sophie Farinelle, Claude P. Muller, Jonathan D. Turner, Henri Schroeder and Nathalie Grova
Toxics 2021, 9(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9030050 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2614
Abstract
The potent neurotoxicity of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) has been suggested to be a susceptibility factor accelerating the onset of brain tumours and the emergence of neurobehavioural disturbances. B[a]P has been shown to be neurotoxic, acting directly on both the central and peripheral nervous systems, [...] Read more.
The potent neurotoxicity of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) has been suggested to be a susceptibility factor accelerating the onset of brain tumours and the emergence of neurobehavioural disturbances. B[a]P has been shown to be neurotoxic, acting directly on both the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as indirectly via peripheral organs like liver and gut. By using a realistic B[a]P exposure scenario (0.02–200 mg/kg/day, 10 days) in mice, we elucidated brain-specific B[a]P metabolism and at identified hydroxylated B[a]P metabolites in serum which could be used as markers of cognitive impairment. Repeated oral administration of B[a]P led to, at the doses of 20 and 200 mg/kg/day, significant overexpression of Cyp1a1/Cyp1b1 in 2 out of the 3 brain regions considered, thereby suggesting the ability of the brain to metabolize B[a]P itself. At the same doses, mice exhibited a reduction in anxiety in both the elevated plus maze and the hole board apparatus. Concomitantly, B[a]P triggered dose-dependent changes in Nmda subunit expression (Nr1 and Nr2a/Nr2b) in areas involved in cognition. We detected 9-OH-B[a]P and 7,8-diol-B[a]P in serum at the level for which cognitive impairment was observed. We suggest that these metabolites may, in the future be exploited as potent biomarkers of B[a]P-induced cognitive impairments. Full article
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Review

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30 pages, 960 KiB  
Review
The Use of Human Biomonitoring to Assess Occupational Exposure to PAHs in Europe: A Comprehensive Review
by Henriqueta Louro, Bruno Costa Gomes, Anne Thoustrup Saber, Anna Laura Iamiceli, Thomas Göen, Kate Jones, Andromachi Katsonouri, Christiana M. Neophytou, Ulla Vogel, Célia Ventura, Axel Oberemm, Radu Corneliu Duca, Mariana F. Fernandez, Nicolas Olea, Tiina Santonen, Susana Viegas and Maria João Silva
Toxics 2022, 10(8), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10080480 - 17 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3162
Abstract
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are among the chemicals with proven impact on workers’ health. The use of human biomonitoring (HBM) to assess occupational exposure to PAHs has become more common in recent years, but the data generated need an overall view to make [...] Read more.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are among the chemicals with proven impact on workers’ health. The use of human biomonitoring (HBM) to assess occupational exposure to PAHs has become more common in recent years, but the data generated need an overall view to make them more usable by regulators and policymakers. This comprehensive review, developed under the Human Biomonitoring for Europe (HBM4EU) Initiative, was based on the literature available from 2008–2022, aiming to present and discuss the information on occupational exposure to PAHs, in order to identify the strengths and limitations of exposure and effect biomarkers and the knowledge needs for regulation in the workplace. The most frequently used exposure biomarker is urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OH-PYR), a metabolite of pyrene. As effect biomarkers, those based on the measurement of oxidative stress (urinary 8-oxo-dG adducts) and genotoxicity (blood DNA strand-breaks) are the most common. Overall, a need to advance new harmonized approaches both in data and sample collection and in the use of appropriate biomarkers in occupational studies to obtain reliable and comparable data on PAH exposure in different industrial sectors, was noted. Moreover, the use of effect biomarkers can assist to identify work environments or activities of high risk, thus enabling preventive risk mitigation and management measures. Full article
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21 pages, 1627 KiB  
Review
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the Environment: Occupational and Exposure Events, Effects on Human Health and Fertility
by Luigi Montano, Concetta Pironti, Gabriella Pinto, Maria Ricciardi, Amalia Buono, Carlo Brogna, Marta Venier, Marina Piscopo, Angela Amoresano and Oriana Motta
Toxics 2022, 10(7), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10070365 - 01 Jul 2022
Cited by 50 | Viewed by 9737
Abstract
In the last decade or so, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) garnered renewed attention in the scientific community due to new evidence pointing at their continued presence in the environment and workplaces and the potential human risks related to their presence. PCBs move from the [...] Read more.
In the last decade or so, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) garnered renewed attention in the scientific community due to new evidence pointing at their continued presence in the environment and workplaces and the potential human risks related to their presence. PCBs move from the environment to humans through different routes; the dominant pathway is the ingestion of contaminated foods (fish, seafood and dairy products), followed by inhalation (both indoor and outdoor air), and, to a lesser extent, dust ingestion and dermal contact. Numerous studies reported the environmental and occupational exposure to these pollutants, deriving from building materials (flame-retardants, plasticizers, paints, caulking compounds, sealants, fluorescent light ballasts, etc.) and electrical equipment. The highest PCBs contaminations were detected in e-waste recycling sites, suggesting the need for the implementation of remediation strategies of such polluted areas to safeguard the health of workers and local populations. Furthermore, a significant correlation between PCB exposure and increased blood PCB concentrations was observed in people working in PCB-contaminated workplaces. Several epidemiological studies suggest that environmental and occupational exposure to high concentrations of PCBs is associated with different health outcomes, such as neuropsychological and neurobehavioral deficits, dementia, immune system dysfunctions, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. In addition, recent studies indicate that PCBs bioaccumulation can reduce fertility, with harmful effects on the reproductive system that can be passed to offspring. In the near future, further studies are needed to assess the real effects of PCBs exposure at low concentrations for prolonged exposure in workplaces and specific indoor environments. Full article
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18 pages, 369 KiB  
Review
Human Biomonitoring of Glyphosate Exposures: State-of-the-Art and Future Research Challenges
by Alison Connolly, Marie A. Coggins and Holger M. Koch
Toxics 2020, 8(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8030060 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 59 | Viewed by 7303
Abstract
Glyphosate continues to attract controversial debate following the International Agency for Research on Cancer carcinogenicity classification in 2015. Despite its ubiquitous presence in our environment, there remains a dearth of data on human exposure to both glyphosate and its main biodegradation product aminomethylphosphonic [...] Read more.
Glyphosate continues to attract controversial debate following the International Agency for Research on Cancer carcinogenicity classification in 2015. Despite its ubiquitous presence in our environment, there remains a dearth of data on human exposure to both glyphosate and its main biodegradation product aminomethylphosphonic (AMPA). Herein, we reviewed and compared results from 21 studies that use human biomonitoring (HBM) to measure urinary glyphosate and AMPA. Elucidation of the level and range of exposure was complicated by differences in sampling strategy, analytical methods, and data presentation. Exposure data is required to enable a more robust regulatory risk assessment, and these studies included higher occupational exposures, environmental exposures, and vulnerable groups such as children. There was also considerable uncertainty regarding the absorption and excretion pattern of glyphosate and AMPA in humans. This information is required to back-calculate exposure doses from urinary levels and thus, then compare these levels with health-based guidance values. Back-calculations based on animal-derived excretion rates suggested that there were no health concerns in relation to glyphosate exposure (when compared with EFSA acceptable daily intake (ADI)). However, recent human metabolism data has reported as low as a 1% urinary excretion rate of glyphosate. Human exposures extrapolated from urinary glyphosate concentrations found that upper-bound levels may be much closer to the ADI than previously reported. Full article
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