Development of a Screening Approach to Interpret Human Biomonitoring Data on Volatile Organic Compounds: Reverse Dosimetry on Biomonitoring Data for Trichloroethylene
A screening approach is developed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to estimate exposures that correspond to levels measured in fluids and/or tissues in human biomonitoring studies. The approach makes use of a generic physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model coupled with exposure pattern characterization, Monte Carlo analysis, and quantitative structure property relationships (QSPRs). QSPRs are used for VOCs with minimal data to develop chemical-specific parameters needed for the PBPK model. The PBPK model is capable of simulating VOC kinetics following multiple routes of exposure, such as oral exposure via water ingestion and inhalation exposure during shower events. Using published human biomonitoring data of trichloroethylene (TCE), the generic model is evaluated to determine how well it estimates TCE concentrations in blood based on the known drinking water concentrations. In addition, Monte Carlo analysis is conducted to characterize the impact of the following factors: (1) uncertainties in the QSPR-estimated chemical-specific parameters; (2) variability in physiological parameters; and (3) variability in exposure patterns. The results indicate that uncertainty in chemical-specific parameters makes only a minor contribution to the overall variability and uncertainty in the predicted TCE concentrations in blood. The model is used in a reverse dosimetry approach to derive estimates of TCE concentrations in drinking water based on given measurements of TCE in blood, for comparison to the U.S. EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level in drinking water. This example demonstrates how a reverse dosimetry approach can be used to facilitate interpretation of human biomonitoring data in a health risk context by deriving external exposures that are consistent with a biomonitoring data set, thereby permitting comparison with health-based exposure guidelines.