Toxicology letters

Bio-effect monitoring using a [(15)N]methacetin test as diagnostic tool to monitor remediation effects in an industrially polluted region.

PMID 16242870


The classical way to demonstrate the efficiency of remediation is measuring the reduction of toxic compounds in the environment. Nevertheless, more important is the risk reduction in human health. To determine changing health effects, exposure and bio-effects have to be monitored at time of and during remediation. Kindergarten children from a heavily polluted industrial (n=23) and a control area (n=12) were investigated. The region-specific outdoor and indoor exposure [27 volatile organic compounds (VOC), emphasis on tri- and tetrachloroethylene (TRI, TETRA)], the internal load [(trichloroacetic acid-TCA-as urine metabolites of TRI and TETRA and S-phenyl- and S-benzylmercapturic acid (SPMA and SBMA) as metabolites of benzene and toluene], and biological effect assessment ([(15)N]methacetin test-a non-invasive stable isotope test to determine the unspecific liver detoxification capacity of an individual) were measured twice a year during 2 years of remediation (1997/1998). It could be shown that in- and outdoor levels of TRI and TETRA decreased by 47% in the heavily polluted village, Greppin, while the levels remained much the same in the control village, Roitzsch. This trend was reflected in the decreasing elimination of TCA in the urine (41%) by the Greppin children, with no differences in the TCA elimination in Roitzsch probands. As the remediation efforts decreased the burden of exposure, the children's liver detoxification capacity improved as well. Combining different methods, such as exposure-effect (external and internal loads) and bio-effect monitoring, proved to be useful to assess remediation successes including the improvement in human health.