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Identifying and Prioritizing Chemicals with Uncertain Burden of Exposure: Opportunities for Biomonitoring and Health-Related Research
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1289/ehp5133
BackgroundThe National Institutes of Health's Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) initiative aims to understand the impact of environmental factors on childhood disease. Over 40,000 chemicals are approved for commercial use. The challenge is to prioritize chemicals for biomonitoring that may present health risk concerns.
ObjectivesOur aim was to prioritize chemicals that may elicit child health effects of interest to ECHO but that have not been biomonitored nationwide and to identify gaps needing additional research.
MethodsWe searched databases and the literature for chemicals in environmental media and in consumer products that were potentially toxic. We selected chemicals that were not measured in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. From over 700 chemicals, we chose 155 chemicals and created eight chemical panels. For each chemical, we compiled biomonitoring and toxicity data, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exposure predictions, and annual production usage. We also applied predictive modeling to estimate toxicity. Using these data, we recommended chemicals either for biomonitoring, to be deferred pending additional data, or as low priority for biomonitoring.
ResultsFor the 155 chemicals, 97 were measured in food or water, 67 in air or house dust, and 52 in biospecimens. We found in vivo endocrine, developmental, reproductive, and neurotoxic effects for 61, 74, 47, and 32 chemicals, respectively. Eighty-six had data from high-throughput in vitro assays. Positive results for endocrine, developmental, neurotoxicity, and obesity were observed for 32, 11, 35, and 60 chemicals, respectively. Predictive modeling results suggested 90% are toxicants. Biomarkers were reported for 76 chemicals. Thirty-six were recommended for biomonitoring, 108 deferred pending additional research, and 11 as low priority for biomonitoring.
DiscussionThe 108 deferred chemicals included those lacking biomonitoring methods or toxicity data, representing an opportunity for future research. Our evaluation was, in general, limited by the large number of unmeasured or untested chemicals. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5133.
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