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      Harmonization of Human Biomonitoring Studies in Europe: Characteristics of the HBM4EU-Aligned Studies Participants

      , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
      International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          Human biomonitoring has become a pivotal tool for supporting chemicals’ policies. It provides information on real-life human exposures and is increasingly used to prioritize chemicals of health concern and to evaluate the success of chemical policies. Europe has launched the ambitious REACH program in 2007 to improve the protection of human health and the environment. In October 2020 the EU commission published its new chemicals strategy for sustainability towards a toxic-free environment. The European Parliament called upon the commission to collect human biomonitoring data to support chemical’s risk assessment and risk management. This manuscript describes the organization of the first HBM4EU-aligned studies that obtain comparable human biomonitoring (HBM) data of European citizens to monitor their internal exposure to environmental chemicals. The HBM4EU-aligned studies build on existing HBM capacity in Europe by aligning national or regional HBM studies. The HBM4EU-aligned studies focus on three age groups: children, teenagers, and adults. The participants are recruited between 2014 and 2021 in 11 to 12 primary sampling units that are geographically distributed across Europe. Urine samples are collected in all age groups, and blood samples are collected in children and teenagers. Auxiliary information on socio-demographics, lifestyle, health status, environment, and diet is collected using questionnaires. In total, biological samples from 3137 children aged 6–12 years are collected for the analysis of biomarkers for phthalates, HEXAMOLL® DINCH, and flame retardants. Samples from 2950 teenagers aged 12–18 years are collected for the analysis of biomarkers for phthalates, Hexamoll® DINCH, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and samples from 3522 adults aged 20–39 years are collected for the analysis of cadmium, bisphenols, and metabolites of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The children’s group consists of 50.4% boys and 49.5% girls, of which 44.1% live in cities, 29.0% live in towns/suburbs, and 26.8% live in rural areas. The teenagers’ group includes 50.6% girls and 49.4% boys, with 37.7% of residents in cities, 31.2% in towns/suburbs, and 30.2% in rural areas. The adult group consists of 52.6% women and 47.4% men, 71.9% live in cities, 14.2% in towns/suburbs, and only 13.4% live in rural areas. The study population approaches the characteristics of the general European population based on age-matched EUROSTAT EU-28, 2017 data; however, individuals who obtained no to lower educational level (ISCED 0–2) are underrepresented. The data on internal human exposure to priority chemicals from this unique cohort will provide a baseline for Europe’s strategy towards a non-toxic environment and challenges and recommendations to improve the sampling frame for future EU-wide HBM surveys are discussed.

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          Cohort Profile Update: The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).

          This is an update of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) cohort profile which was published in 2006. Pregnant women attending a routine ultrasound examination were initially invited. The first child was born in October 1999 and the last in July 2009. The participation rate was 41%. The cohort includes more than 114 000 children, 95 000 mothers and 75 000 fathers. About 1900 pairs of twins have been born. There are approximately 16 400 women who participate with more than one pregnancy. Blood samples were obtained from both parents during pregnancy and from mothers and children (umbilical cord) after birth. Samples of DNA, RNA, whole blood, plasma and urine are stored in a biobank. During pregnancy, the mother responded to three questionnaires and the father to one. After birth, questionnaires were sent out when the child was 6 months, 18 months and 3 years old. Several sub-projects have selected participants for in-depth clinical assessment and exposure measures. The purpose of this update is to explain and describe new additions to the data collection, including questionnaires at 5, 7, 8 and 13 years as well as linkages to health registries, and to point to some findings and new areas of research. Further information can be found at [www.fhi.no/moba-en]. Researchers interested in collaboration and access to the data can complete an electronic application available on the MoBa website above.
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            Participation rates in epidemiologic studies.

            Participation rates for epidemiologic studies have been declining during the past 30 years with even steeper declines in recent years. This wholesale decrease in participation rate, or at the very least the increase in refusal, has, quite understandably, occasioned some concern among epidemiologists who have long considered a high study participation rate as one of the hallmarks of a "good" epidemiologic study. In this review we synthesize the issues that are central to epidemiologic thinking around declining study participation rates. We consider the reasons why study participation has been declining, summarize what we know about who does participate in epidemiologic studies, and discuss the implications of declining participation rates. We conclude with a discussion of methods that may help improve study participation rates.
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              Calculation of serum "total lipid" concentrations for the adjustment of persistent organohalogen toxicant measurements in human samples.

              Persistent organohalogen toxicants such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls measured in human serum are often expressed on a lipid weight basis, most commonly by dividing the toxicants' concentration by the weight of total lipids in the sample. Therefore, the manner in which this lipid adjustment is calculated may influence the final reported result. Gravimetric total lipid assays have been used, but they are time-consuming and sometimes may be ill-defined. Consequently, alternative methods using enzymatic assays have been developed based on summing the individual lipid species measured. Recent reports, however, have suggested that significantly different total lipid results may be obtained when using alternative formulae in a summation approach. In this report, we summarize the results obtained from lipid measurements of nearly 900 samples made as part of a study of a group of older American men (mean age 62 years), and we compare our total lipid estimates obtained by using both our standard and "short" formula (the latter based on total cholesterol and triglycerides only) with results obtained using the recently proposed alternative formulae. Our findings indicate that both our long and short formulae provide similar estimates of serum total lipid concentrations, and that differences observed in lipid estimates when using the newer alternative summation methods may reflect differences in how the term "total lipid" is defined, especially with regard to the need to include the contribution of the weight of the cholesterol ester fatty acids in the calculation.
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                Journal
                IJERGQ
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                IJERPH
                MDPI AG
                1660-4601
                June 2022
                June 01 2022
                : 19
                : 11
                : 6787
                Article
                10.3390/ijerph19116787
                35682369
                7936424a-dfb4-48e8-bf5b-5ab346492b81
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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