Evaluation of human biomonitoring data in a health risk based context: An updated analysis of population level data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey
By Sarah Faure, Nolwenn Noisel, Kate Werry, Subramanian Karthikeyan, Lesa L Aylward, and Annie St-Amand
Int J Hyg Environ Health
September 24, 2019
In order to characterize exposure of the Canadian population to environmental chemicals, a human biomonitoring component has been included in the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). This nationally-representative survey, launched in 2007 by the Government of Canada, has measured over 250 chemicals in approximately 30,000 Canadians during the last decade. The capacity to interpret these data at the population level in a health risk context is gradually improving with the development of biomonitoring screening values, such as biomonitoring equivalents (BE) and human biomonitoring (HBM) values. This study evaluates recent population level biomonitoring data from the CHMS in a health risk context using biomonitoring screening values. Nationally representative biomonitoring data for fluoride, selenium, molybdenum, arsenic, silver, thallium, cyfluthrin, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA), chlorpyrifos, deltamethrin, bisphenol A, triclosan, acrylamide, cadmium, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), bromoform, chloroform, benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene and tetrachloroethylene were screened as part as this study. For non-cancer endpoints, hazard quotients (HQs) were calculated as the ratio of population level concentrations of a specific chemical at the geometric mean and 95th percentile to the corresponding biomonitoring screening value. Cancer risks were calculated at the 5th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 95th percentiles of the population concentration using BEs based on a risk specific dose. Most of the chemicals analyzed had HQs below 1 suggesting that levels of exposure to these chemicals are not a concern at the population level. However, HQs exceeded 1 in smokers for cadmium, acrylamide and benzene, as well as in the general population for inorganic arsenic, PFOS and PFOA, 3-PBA and fluoride. Furthermore, cancer risks for inorganic arsenic, acrylamide, and benzene at most population percentiles of exposure were elevated (>10). Specifically, for inorganic arsenic in the general population, the HQ was 3.13 at the 95th percentile concentration and the cancer risk was 3.4 × 10 at the 50th percentile of population concentrations. These results suggest that the levels of exposure in the Canadian population to some of the environmental chemicals assessed might be of concern. The results of this screening exercise support the findings of previous risk assessments and ongoing efforts to reduce risks from exposure to chemicals evaluated as part of this study. Although paucity of biomonitoring screening values for several environmental contaminants may be a limitation to this approach, our assessment contributes to the prioritization of a number of chemicals measured as part of CHMS for follow-up activities such as more detailed characterization of exposure sources.