Lab Matters Winter 2019 - Page 13

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH environmental contamination, such as processing samples for analysis in a clean biosafety cabinet and using ultra- pure reagents approved for trace metal work. After analysis, urine arsenic and uranium results were compared with well water concentrations in order to evaluate the degree of correlation. It was not uncommon to detect elevated urinary concentrations of arsenic and uranium when well water concentrations were also high. Assessing exposure to arsenic was complicated by the fact that arsenic can exist in several different molecular forms, or species, with widely varying toxicities. Understanding the type of arsenic present in participants’ urine was therefore integral to evaluating their exposure. If a participant’s initial urine testing indicated that a large amount of arsenic was present, their urine was further analyzed to determine the concentrations of six arsenic species, some of which are not found in groundwater. Almost one third of all participants received this additional testing, which helped determine whether an individual was exposed to arsenic through drinking their well water (especially when well water arsenic concentrations were high) or through other exposure routes such as diet. Next Steps The information generated by the Targeted Arsenic and Uranium Study provided useful insight into relationships between arsenic and uranium exposure and private well use for drinking water, as well as occupation, diet and other environmental factors. In addition to receiving their urine and water test results by mail, participants will have the opportunity to attend community information meetings hosted in several locations across the state by Biomonitoring NH Toxicologist Kim Aviado prepares for arsenic speciation testing. Photo: NH Department of Health biomonitoring staff. Study data will be shared with the New Hampshire Environmental Public Health Tracking program where it will contribute to a broader effort to improve understanding of how environmental contaminants affect people’s health. n Share your story with your peers! Lab Matters L s ags ip pu lication is see ing su issions ro la oratorians at all le els o practice or ro t e Benc a e er-dri en section o its uarterl aga ine. old ro t e uni ue perspecti e o la orator scientists ad inistrators or sta e elco e articles co ering topics across pu lic ealt la orator science ad inistration careers and anage ent. For more information on writing guidelines, contact: nene Sulli an Co unications anager g nene.sulli an ap @APHL PublicHealthLabs . . Winter 2019 LAB MATTERS 11