Feasibility of using urinary TDGA as a biomarker for VCM exposures

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Thiodiglycolic acid (TDGA) is a major metabolite of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), and it has been suggested as an exposure biomarker for VCM. The validity of this biomarker when the level of VCM is less than 5ppm, however, is questionable. The objective of this article is to evaluate the feasibility of using urinary TDGA as a biomarker of VCM exposure in a community health risk assessment setting where the concentration of VCM in air is typically very low (likely below 1ppm). To achieve this objective, we examine the fraction of urinary TDGA associated with different levels of VCM exposures of three studies from different countries, using estimations of the TDGA metabolite predicted by a PBPK model. It is demonstrated that differences in background TDGA have considerable effect on the adequacy of TDGA as a biomarker of VCM. We conclude that, in a community health assessment setting, TDGA should not be used as an exposure biomarker for VCM without having a proper control group, and a PBPK model can be used first to determine whether or not the amount of TDGA in urine is of concern.

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