Benefits of cooperation among large-scale cohort studies and human biomonitoring projects in environmental health research: An exercise in blood lead analysis of the Environment and Child Health International Birth Cohort Group

Shoji F. Nakayama, Carolina Espina, Michihiro Kamijima, Per Magnus, Marie Aline Charles, Jun Zhang, Birgit Wolz, André Conrad, Aline Murawski, Miyuki Iwai-Shimada, Cécile Zaros, Ida Henriette Caspersen, Marike Kolossa-Gehring, Helle Margrete Meltzer, Sjurdur F. Olsen, Ruth A. Etzel, Joachim Schüz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A number of prospective cohort studies are ongoing worldwide to investigate the impact of foetal and neonatal exposures to chemical substances on child health. To assess multiple exposure (mixture) effects and low prevalence health outcomes it is useful to pool data from several studies and conduct mega-data-analysis. To discuss a path towards data harmonization, representatives from several large-scale birth cohort studies and a biomonitoring programme formed a collaborative group, the Environment and Child Health International Birth Cohort Group (ECHIBCG). In this study, an intra-laboratory trial was performed to harmonize existing blood lead measurements within the groups' studies. Then, decentralized analyses were conducted in individual countries' laboratories to evaluate blood lead levels (BLL) in each study. The measurements of pooled BLL samples in French, German and three Japanese laboratories resulted in an overall mean blood lead concentration of 8.66 μg l−1 (95% confidence interval: 8.59–8.72 μg l−1) with 3.0% relative standard deviation. Except for China's samples, BLL from each study were comparable with mean concentrations below or close to 10 μg l−1. The decentralized multivariate analyses revealed that all models had coefficients of determination below 0.1. Determinants of BLL were current smoking, age >35 years and overweight or obese status. The three variables were associated with an increase in BLL in each of the five studies, most strongly in France by almost 80% and the weakest effect being in Norway with only 15%; for Japan, with the far largest sample (~18,000), the difference was 36%. This study successfully demonstrated that the laboratory analytical methods were sufficiently similar to allow direct comparison of data and showed that it is possible to harmonize the epidemiological data for joint analysis. This exercise showed the challenges in decentralized data analyses and reinforces the need for data harmonization among studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1067
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
Volume222
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Birth cohort
  • Child
  • Environment
  • Harmonization
  • HBM
  • Human biomonitoring
  • Lead
  • Lead (PubChem CID: 5352425)
  • Pregnancy

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