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Environ Health Perspect. 2004 Jan;112(1):94-104.

The value of home-based collection of biospecimens in reproductive epidemiology.

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Reproductive Toxicology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA.


Detection, quantification, and prognosis of environmental exposures in humans has been vastly enhanced by the ability of epidemiologists to collect biospecimens for toxicologic or other laboratory evaluation. Ease of collection and level of invasiveness are commonly cited reasons why study participants fail to provide biospecimens for research purposes. The use of methodologies for the collection of biospecimens in the home offers promise for improving the validity of health effects linked to environmental exposures while maximizing the number and type of specimens capable of being collected in a timely and cost-effective manner. In this review we examine biospecimens (urine and blood) that have been successfully collected from the home environment. Related issues such as storage and transportation will also be examined as well as promising new approaches for collecting less frequently studied biospecimens (including hair follicles, breast milk, semen, and others). Such biospecimens are useful in the monitoring of reproductive development and function.

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