Validation of trichloroacetic acid exposure via drinking water during pregnancy using a urinary TCAA biomarker

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Disinfection by-product (DBP) exposure during pregnancy may be related to reduced fetal growth, but the evidence is inconclusive and improved DBP exposure assessment is required. The authors conducted a nested exposure study on a subset (n=39) of pregnant women in the Born in Bradford cohort to assess validity of TCAA exposure assessment based on tap water sampling and self-reported water-use; water-use questionnaire validity; and use of a one-time urinary TCAA biomarker. TCAA levels in urine and home tap water supply were quantified, and water use was measured via a questionnaire and 7-day diary, at 28 weeks gestation. Diary and urine measures were repeated later in pregnancy (n=14). TCAA level in home tap water supply was not correlated with urinary TCAA (0.18, P=0.29). Cold unfiltered tap water intake at home measured by questionnaire was correlated with urinary TCAA (0.44, P=0.007), but correlation was stronger still for cold unfiltered tap water intake reported over the 3 days prior to urine sampling (0.60, P<0.001). For unemployed women TCAA ingestion at home, derived from tap water sampling and self-reported water-use, correlated strongly with urinary TCAA (0.78, P<0.001), but for employed women the correlation was weak (0.31, P=0.20). Results suggest individual tap water intake is most influential in determining TCAA exposure variability in this cohort, and that TCAA ingestion at home is a valid proxy for TCAA exposure for unemployed women but less satisfactory for employed women.

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