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J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2007 Nov;17(7):591-603. Epub 2006 Nov 15.

Reverse dosimetry: interpreting trihalomethanes biomonitoring data using physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling.

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  • 1CIIT Centers for Health Research, Center for Human Health Assessment, 6 Davis Drive, P.O. Box 12137, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2137, USA.


Biomonitoring data provide evidence of exposure of environmental chemicals but are not, by themselves, direct measures of exposure. To use biomonitoring data in understanding exposure, physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling can be used in a reverse dosimetry approach to assess a distribution of exposures possibly associated with specific blood or urine levels of compounds. Reverse dosimetry integrates PBPK modeling with exposure pattern characterization, Monte Carlo analysis, and statistical tools to estimate a distribution of exposures that are consistent with biomonitoring data in a population. The present study used an existing PBPK model for chloroform as a generic framework to develop PBPK models for other trihalomethanes (THMs). Using Monte Carlo sampling techniques, probabilistic information about pharmacokinetics and exposure patterns was included to estimate distributions of THMs concentrations in blood in relation to various exposure patterns in a diverse population. In addition, the possibility of inhibition of hepatic metabolism among THMs was evaluated under the scenarios of household exposure. These studies demonstrated how PBPK modeling can be used as a tool to estimate a population distribution of exposures that could have resulted in particular biomonitoring results. When toxicity level is known, this tool can also be used to estimate proportion of population above levels associated with health risk.

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