Autopsy tissues as biological monitors of human exposure to environmental pollutants. A case study: Concentrations of metals and PCDD/Fs in subjects living near a hazardous waste incinerator
Human biomonitoring is of tremendous importance to prevent potential adverse effects derived from human exposure to chemicals. Blood and urine are among the biological monitors more frequently used. However, biological matrices such as breast milk, hair, nails, saliva, feces, teeth, and expired air are also often used. In addition, and focused mainly on long-term exposure, adipose tissue and other human tissues like bone, liver, brain or kidney, are also used as biological monitors of certain substances, especially for long-term biomonitoring. However, for this kind of tissues sampling is always a limiting factor. In this paper, we have examined the role of autopsy tissues as biological monitors of human exposure to environmental pollutants. For it, we have used a case study conducted near a hazardous waste incinerator (HWI) in Catalonia (Spain), in which the concentrations of metals and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), have been periodically determined in autopsy tissues of subjects living in the area under potential influence of the facility. This case study does not show advantages -in comparison to other appropriate biomonitors such as blood- in using autopsy tissues in the monitoring of long-term exposure to metals and PCDD/Fs.