Hurricane Harvey:  Using Wearable Sensors to Collect Exposure Data

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Hurricane Harvey: Using Wearable Sensors to Collect Exposure Data

First made popular by Lance Armstrong’s yellow Livestrong bands, silicone wristbands have gained new popularity among public health specialists wanting to study individuals’ unique exposures. The wristbands are a low-cost, shelf-stable, easy-to-transport, and easy-to-store passive sampling device.

In Harvey’s wake, multiple research teams sprang into action. In the biggest Harvey wristband study, a team at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) deployed wristbands in three communities around Houston that experienced different types of flooding. 

Walker and her team—as well as the other researchers working on post-Harvey exposure studies—believe that reporting findings back to affected communities is especially important when doing science amid a natural disaster. The data from all the Harvey wristband studies will be shared with participants so they can understand their chemical exposures.

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Silicone wristbands compared with traditional polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure assessment methods

Currently there is a lack of inexpensive, easy-to-use technology to evaluate human exposure to environmental chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This is the first study in which silicone wristbands were deployed alongside two traditional personal PAH exposure assessment methods: active air monitoring with samplers (i.e., polyurethane foam (PUF) and filter) housed in backpacks, and biological sampling with urine. We demonstrate that wristbands worn for 48 h in a non-occupational setting recover semivolatile PAHs, and we compare levels of PAHs in wristbands to PAHs in PUFs-filters and to hydroxy-PAH (OH-PAH) biomarkers in urine. We deployed all samplers simultaneously for 48 h on 22 pregnant women in an established urban birth cohort. Each woman provided one spot urine sample at the end of the 48-h period. Wristbands recovered PAHs with similar detection frequencies to PUFs-filters. Of the 62 PAHs tested for in the 22 wristbands, 51 PAHs were detected in at least one wristband. In this cohort of pregnant women, we found more significant correlations between OH-PAHs and PAHs in wristbands than between OH-PAHs and PAHs in PUFs-filters. Only two comparisons between PAHs in PUFs-filters and OH-PAHs correlated significantly (rs = 0.53 and p = 0.01; rs = 0.44 and p = 0.04), whereas six comparisons between PAHs in wristbands and OH-PAHs correlated significantly (rs = 0.44 to 0.76 and p = 0.04 to <0.0001). These results support the utility of wristbands as a biologically relevant exposure assessment tool which can be easily integrated into environmental health studies.

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Silicone Wristband Passive Samplers Yield Highly Individualized Pesticide Residue Exposure Profiles.

Monitoring human exposure to pesticides and pesticide residues (PRs) remains crucial for informing public health policies, despite strict regulation of plant protection product and biocide use. We used 72 low-cost silicone wristbands as noninvasive passive samplers to assess cumulative 5-day exposure of 30 individuals to polar PRs. Ethyl acetate extraction and LC-MS/MS analysis were used for the identification of PRs. Thirty-one PRs were detected of which 15 PRs (48%) were detected only in worn wristbands, not in environmental controls. The PRs included 16 fungicides (52%), 8 insecticides (26%), 2 herbicides (6%), 3 pesticide derivatives (10%), 1 insect repellent (3%), and 1 pesticide synergist (3%). Five detected pesticides were not approved for plant protection use in the EU. Smoking and dietary habits that favor vegetable consumption were associated with higher numbers and higher cumulative concentrations of PRs in wristbands. Wristbands featured unique PR combinations. Our results suggest both environment and diet contributed to PR exposure in our study group. Silicone wristbands could serve as sensitive passive samplers to screen population-wide cumulative dietary and environmental exposure to authorized, unauthorized and banned pesticides.

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Multi-class chemical exposure in rural Peru using silicone wristbands

Exposure monitoring with personal silicone wristband samplers was demonstrated in Peru in four agriculture and urban communities where logistic and practical constraints hinder use of more traditional approaches. ... Silicone wristband sampling with chemical screening is a candidate for widespread use in exposure monitoring in remote areas. 

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Preparation and performance features of wristband samplers and considerations for chemical exposure assessment

Wristbands are increasingly used for assessing personal chemical exposures. Unlike some exposure assessment tools, guidelines for wristbands, such as preparation, applicable chemicals, and transport and storage logistics, are lacking. We tested the wristband’s capacity to capture and retain 148 chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). The chemicals span a wide range of physical–chemical properties, with log octanol–air partitioning coefficients from 2.1 to 13.7. All chemicals were quantitatively and precisely recovered from initial exposures, averaging 102% recovery with relative SD ≤ 21%. In simulated transport conditions at +30 °C, SVOCs were stable up to 1 month (average: 104%) and VOC levels were unchanged (average: 99%) for 7 days. During long-term storage at − 20 °C up to 3 (VOCs) or 6 months (SVOCs), all chemical levels were stable from chemical degradation or diffusional losses, averaging 110%. Applying a paired wristband/active sampler study with human participants, the first estimates of wristband–air partitioning coefficients for PAHs are presented to aid in environmental air concentration estimates. Extrapolation of these stability results to other chemicals within the same physical–chemical parameters is expected to yield similar results. As we better define
wristband characteristics, wristbands can be better integrated in exposure science and  epidemiological studies.

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Preparation and performance features of wristband samplers and considerations for chemical exposure assessment.

Wristbands are increasingly used for assessing personal chemical exposures. Unlike some exposure assessment tools, guidelines for wristbands, such as preparation, applicable chemicals, and transport and storage logistics, are lacking. We tested the wristband's capacity to capture and retain 148 chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). The chemicals span a wide range of physical-chemical properties, with log octanol-air partitioning coefficients from 2.1 to 13.7. All chemicals were quantitatively and precisely recovered from initial exposures, averaging 102% recovery with relative SD ≤21%. In simulated transport conditions at +30 °C, SVOCs were stable up to 1 month (average: 104%) and VOC levels were unchanged (average: 99%) for 7 days. During long-term storage at -20 °C up to 3 (VOCs) or 6 months (SVOCs), all chemical levels were stable from chemical degradation or diffusional losses, averaging 110%. Applying a paired wristband/active sampler study with human participants, the first estimates of wristband-air partitioning coefficients for PAHs are presented to aid in environmental air concentration estimates. Extrapolation of these stability results to other chemicals within the same physical-chemical parameters is expected to yield similar results. As we better define wristband characteristics, wristbands can be better integrated in exposure science and epidemiological studies.

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Personal samplers of bioavailable pesticides integrated with a hair follicle assay of DNA damage to assess environmental exposures and their associated risks in children.

Abstract

Agriculture in the United States employs youth ages ten and older in work environments with high pesticide levels. Younger children in rural areas may also be affected by indirect pesticide exposures. The long-term effects of pesticides on health and development are difficult to assess and poorly understood. Yet, epidemiologic studies suggest associations with cancer as well as cognitive deficits. We report a practical and cost-effective approach to assess environmental pesticide exposures and their biological consequences in children. Our approach combines silicone wristband personal samplers and DNA damage quantification from hair follicles, and was tested as part of a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project involving ten Latino children from farmworker households in North Carolina. Our study documents high acceptance among Latino children and their caregivers of these noninvasive sampling methods. The personal samplers detected organophosphates, organochlorines, and pyrethroids in the majority of the participants (70%, 90%, 80%, respectively). Pesticides were detected in all participant samplers, with an average of 6.2±2.4 detections/participant sampler. DNA damage in epithelial cells from the sheath and bulb of plucked hairs follicles was quantified by immunostaining 53BP1-labled DNA repair foci. This method is sensitive, as shown by dose response analyses to γ radiations where the lowest dose tested (0.1Gy) led to significant increased 53BP1 foci density. Immunolabeling of DNA repair foci has significant advantages over the comet assay in that specific regions of the follicles can be analyzed. In this cohort of child participants, significant association was found between the number of pesticide detections and DNA damage in the papilla region of the hairs. We anticipate that this monitoring approach of bioavailable pesticides and genotoxicity will enhance our knowledge of the biological effects of pesticides to guide education programs and safety policies.

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Silicone wristbands detect individuals' pesticide exposures in West Africa

Wristbands detected between 2 and 10 pesticides per person with novel sampling devices worn by 35 participants who were actively engaged in farming in Diender, Senegal. Participants were recruited to wear silicone wristbands for each of two separate periods of up to 5 days. Pesticide exposure profiles were highly individualized with only limited associations with demographic data. Using a 63-pesticide dual-column gas chromatography–electron capture detector (GC-ECD) method, we detected pyrethoid insecticides most frequently, followed by organophosphate pesticides which have been linked to adverse health outcomes. This work provides the first report of individualized exposure profiles among smallholder farmers in West Africa, where logistical and practical constraints have prevented the use of more traditional approaches to exposure assessment in the past. The wristbands and associated analytical method enabled detection of a broad range of agricultural, domestic, legacy and current-use pesticides, including esfenvalerate, cypermethrin, lindane, DDT and chlorpyrifos. Participants reported the use of 13 pesticide active ingredients while wearing wristbands. All six of the pesticides that were both reportedly used and included in the analytical method were detected in at least one wristband. An additional 19 pesticide compounds were detected beyond those that were reported to be in use, highlighting the importance of measuring exposure in addition to collecting surveys and self-reported use records. The wristband method is a candidate for more widespread use in pesticide exposure and health monitoring, and in the development of evidence-based policies for human health protection in an area where food security concerns are likely to intensify agricultural production and pesticide use in the near future.

Another Great "Wristband" Paper in peer-reviewed journal: Organophosphate Flame Retardants

Measuring Personal Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants Using Silicone Wristbands and Hand Wipes

Organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) are widely used as replacements for polybrominated diphenyl ethers in consumer products. With high detection in indoor environments and increasing toxicological evidence suggesting a potential for adverse health effects, there is a growing need for reliable exposure metrics to examine individual exposures to PFRs. Silicone wristbands have been used as passive air samplers for quantifying exposure in the general population and occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Here we investigated the utility of silicone wristbands in measuring exposure and internal dose of PFRs through measurement of urinary metabolite concentrations. Wristbands were also compared to hand wipes as metrics of exposure. ... Correlations between TDCIPP and TCIPP and their corresponding urinary metabolites were highly significant on the wristbands (rs = 0.5–0.65, p < 0.001), which suggest that wristbands can serve as strong predictors of cumulative, 5-day exposure and may be an improved metric compared to hand wipes.

 

Chemical & Engineering News:  Simple way to track exposure!

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Chemical & Engineering News: Simple way to track exposure!

A simple way to track your everyday exposure to chemicals

Silicone wristbands mimic how the body absorbs toxic compounds

For one week, 92 preschool-aged children in Oregon sported colorful silicone wristbands provided by researchers from Oregon State University. The children’s parents then returned the bands, which the researchers analyzed to determine whether the youngsters had been exposed to flame retardants. The scientists were surprised to find that the kids were exposed to many polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), chemicals that are no longer produced in the U.S., as well as to organophosphate flame retardants, which are widely used as substitutes for PBDEs.

 

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Using silicone wristbands to evaluate preschool children's exposure to flame retardants

Published in"Environmental Research" journal, accepted Feb 25, 2016, a new published report on the use of Wristbands as passive sampling devices.

Highlights

• Silicone wristbands are a non-invasive approach for personal sampling of chemical mixtures.

• Flame retardants were stable in a simulation of transport and storage stability in wristband samplers.

• A total of 20 flame retardants were detected in silicone wristbands worn by children.

• Some flame retardants measured in wristbands were associated with house age, vacuum frequency, and family context.

FULL REPORT AVAILABLE HERE:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935116300743

And if you don't have journal access you can request a copy of the study from the authors using the CONTACT form on this website.

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USA Today:  Worried about toxic chemicals? This band exposes them

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USA Today: Worried about toxic chemicals? This band exposes them

During a single week back in August in which I bopped in and around New York City, I was exposed to at least 16 hazardous chemicals. These included phthalate chemicals of the type banned in kids toys and pacifiers, flame retardants such as TCPP and TPP, and Galaxolide, a common fragrance found in cleaning and beauty products.

I’m aware of the sobering details because of a wearable.

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FastCompany / FastCoExist Announces MyExposome Wristband

This Wristband Will Tell You Which Chemicals You're Exposed To Every Day

We live in a pretty toxic world. How toxic? This new wearable will let you know—and you probably won't like the results.

 

We tend to blame bad genes for breast cancer and Alzheimer's, but few diseases are purely genetic. The "exposome"—all the things we're exposed to throughout our lives—often plays a bigger role than DNA. That includes the obvious, like diet and exercise, but also factors that are harder to track, like the chemicals that surround us.

A new wearable called MyExposome is designed to reveal which chemicals are actually part of your everyday life. Strap on the wristband for a week, and it absorbs chemicals—from pesticides to flame retardants—along with you. At the end of the week, you mail it back to a lab to learn about the invisible part of your world.

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PR Press Release: MyExposome Announces Wristband

Breathe in, Breathe out. Wash your hair and take a walk outside. With every breath or step you take you are exposed to your environment—to the chemicals around you. Have you ever wondered which chemicals you are exposed to in your everyday life? Until today, you couldn’t measure your personal exposure to those invisible chemicals.

MyExposome ( www.myexposome.com) has designed a new patent-pending technology,  originally developed at Oregon State University, which answers your critical questions about the chemicals in your environment. 

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