Pooled biological specimens for human biomonitoring of environmental chemicals : opportunities and limitations

Heffernan, Amy, Aylward, Lesa, Toms, Leisa-Maree, Sly, Peter, MacLeod, Matthew, & Mueller, Jochen (2013) Pooled biological specimens for human biomonitoring of environmental chemicals : opportunities and limitations. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, November.

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Abstract

Biomonitoring has become the ‘gold standard’ in assessing chemical exposures, and plays an important role in risk assessment. The pooling of biological specimens – combining multiple individual specimens into a single sample – can be used in biomonitoring studies to monitor levels of exposure and identify exposure trends, or to identify susceptible populations in a cost-effective manner. Pooled samples provide an estimate of central tendency, and may also reveal information about variation within the population. The development of a pooling strategy requires careful consideration of the type and number of samples collected, the number of pools required, and the number of specimens to combine per pool in order to maximize the type and robustness of the data. Creative pooling strategies can be used to explore exposure-outcome associations, and extrapolation from other larger studies can be useful in identifying elevated exposures in specific individuals. The use of pooled specimens is advantageous as it saves significantly on analytical costs, may reduce the time and resources required for recruitment, and in certain circumstances, allows quantification of samples approaching the limit of detection. In addition, use of pooled samples can provide population estimates while avoiding ethical difficulties that may be associated with reporting individual results.

Impact and interest:

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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 66207
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: biomonitoring, epidemiology, population based studies
DOI: 10.1038/jes.2013.76
ISSN: 1559-0631
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Nature Publishing Group
Deposited On: 17 Feb 2014 23:24
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2014 00:16

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