Determination of a guidance value for the communication of individual-level biomonitoring data for urinary arsenic
BACKGROUND: Available guidance values to interpret individual-level biomonitoring data (ILBD) for the sum of urinary inorganic-related arsenic species (SUIAS) are generally based on population statistical descriptors and not on a predetermined exposure level that should not be exceeded. The objective of this study was thus to propose a range of SUIAS concentrations, reflecting an exposure corresponding to WHO's provisional guideline value (PGV) for arsenic in drinking water (10 μg/L), within which an exposure-based biomonitoring guidance value can be identified. METHOD A comprehensive literature review was carried out in order to identify studies that were relevant to the determination of a guidance value. Drinking water arsenic exposure and urinary biomonitoring concentrations obtained from selected studies were used to conduct a structural equation modeling meta-analysis, from which regression coefficients were obtained to derive an interpretative guidance range. RESULTS Individuals exposed to the arsenic background level comparable to North American and European countries and to a water source contaminated at the WHO's PGV, would have, on average, urinary SUIAS between 9 and 20 μg/L, with the most probable value being 15 μg/L. To address the associated uncertainty, the final guidance value selection within this range may be based on a targeted sensitivity and specificity towards detecting overexposed individuals. Indeed, spans of sensitivity of 60-82%, and of specificity of 58-85%, were estimated for the proposed range based on drinking water exposure raw data from the literature. CONCLUSION The range of guidance values obtained appears suitable for interpreting and communicating ILBD in any population biomonitoring studies in which background exposure is comparable to the North American and European context. Before selecting a single value within the proposed range, it will be important for Public Health officials to assess the possible consequences of this selection on the management and communication of the biomonitoring results.
Date de publication (Zotero)