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Assessment of variability in biomonitoring data using a large database of biological measures of exposure.
Symanski E; Greeson NM
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 2002 Jul/Aug; 63(4):390-401
Although intra- and interindividual sources of variation in airborne exposures have been extensively studied, similar investigations examining variability in biological measures of exposure have been limited. Following a review of the world's published literature, biological monitoring data were abstracted from 53 studies that examined workers' exposures to metals, solvents, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides. Approximately 40% of the studies also reported personal sampling results, which were compiled as well. In this study, the authors evaluated the intra- and interindividual sources of variation in biological measures of exposure collected on workers employed at the same plant. In 60% of the data sets, there was more variation among workers than variation from day to day. Approximately one-fourth of the data were homogeneous with small differences among workers' mean exposure levels. However, an almost equal number of data sets exhibited moderate to extreme levels of heterogeneity in exposures among workers at the same facility. In addition, the relative magnitude of the intra- to interindividual source of variation was larger for biomarkers with short compared to long half-lives, which suggests that biomarkers with half-lives of 7 days or longer exhibit physiologic dampening of fluctuations in external levels of the workplace contaminant and thereby may offer advantages when compared to short-lived biomarkers or exposures assessed by air monitoring. The use of biological indices of exposure, however, places an additional burden on the strategy used to evaluate exposures, because data may be serially correlated as evidenced in this study, which could result in biased estimates of the variance components if autocorrelation is undetected or ignored in the statistical analyses.
Biological monitoring; Chemical indicators; Occupational exposure; Epidemiology; Exposure methods; Dose response
University of Texas School of Public Health, 1200 Herman Pressler Dr., Houston, TX 77030
Issue of Publication
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas
Page last reviewed: April 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division