Concept for the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Substances in Population-Based Human Biomonitoring
The Human Biomonitoring (HBM) Commission at the German Environment Agency holds the opinion that for environmental carcinogens for which no exposure levels can be assumed and are harmless to health, health-based guidance values corresponding to the classical definition of the HBM-I or HBM-II value cannot be established. Therefore, only reference values have been derived so far for genotoxic carcinogens from exposure data of the general population or subpopulations. The concept presented here opens up the possibility of performing health risk assessments of carcinogenic substances in human biomonitoring, and thus goes decisively beyond the purely descriptive statistical reference value concept. Using the presented method, quantitative dose descriptors of internal exposure can be derived from those of external exposure, provided that sufficient toxicokinetic information is available. Dose descriptors of internal exposure then allow the simple estimate of additional lifetime cancer risks for measured biomarker concentrations or, conversely, of equivalent concentrations for selected risks, such as those considered as tolerable for the general population. HBM data of chronic exposures to genotoxic carcinogens can thus be used to assess the additional lifetime cancer risk referring to the general population and to justify and prioritize risk management measures.