A proposal for assessing study quality: Biomonitoring, Environmental Epidemiology, and Short-lived Chemicals (BEES-C) instrument

The quality of exposure assessment is a major determinant of the overall quality of any environmental epidemiology study. The use of biomonitoring as a tool for assessing exposure to ubiquitous chemicals with short physiologic half-lives began relatively recently. These chemicals present several challenges, including their presence in analytical laboratories and sampling equipment, difficulty in establishing temporal order in cross-sectional studies, short- and long-term variability in exposures and biomarker concentrations, and a paucity of information on the number of measurements required for proper exposure classification. To date, the scientific community has not developed a set of systematic guidelines for designing, implementing and interpreting studies of short-lived chemicals that use biomonitoring as the exposure metric or for evaluating the quality of this type of research for WOE assessments or for peer review of grants or publications. In this study, the authors describe key issues that affect epidemiology studies using biomonitoring data on short-lived chemicals and propose a systematic instrument – the Biomonitoring, Environmental Epidemiology, and Short-lived Chemicals (BEES-C) instrument – for evaluating the quality of research proposals and studies that incorporate biomonitoring data on short-lived chemicals. Quality criteria for three areas considered fundamental to the evaluation of epidemiology studies that include biological measurements of short-lived chemicals are described: 1) biomarker selection and measurement, 2) study design and execution, and 3) general epidemiological study design considerations. The authors recognise that the development of an evaluative tool such as BEES-C is neither simple nor non-controversial and they hope and anticipate that the instrument will initiate further discussion/debate on this topic.

Authors: LaKind JS, Sobus JR, Goodman M, Barr DB, Fürst P, Albertini RJ, Arbuckle TE, Schoeters G, Tan YM, Teeguarden J, Tornero-Velez R, Weisel CP. ;Full Source: Environment International. 2014 Aug 16;73C:195-207. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.07.011. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Epub ahead of print] ;[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]