Colorectal Cancer and Long-Term Exposure to Trihalomethanes in Drinking Water: A Multicenter Case-Control Study in Spain and Italy.
ABSTRACT: Evidence on the association between colorectal cancer and exposure to disinfection by-products in drinking water is inconsistent.We assessed long-term exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs), the most prevalent group of chlorination by-products, to evaluate the association with colorectal cancer.A multicenter case-control study was conducted in Spain and Italy in 2008-2013. Hospital-based incident cases and population-based (Spain) and hospital-based (Italy) controls were interviewed to ascertain residential histories, type of water consumed in each residence, frequency and duration of showering/bathing, and major recognized risk factors for colorectal cancer. We estimated adjusted odds ratios (OR) for colorectal cancer in association with quartiles of estimated average lifetime THM concentrations in each participant's residential tap water (micrograms/liter; from age 18 to 2 years before the interview) and estimated average lifetime THM ingestion from drinking residential tap water (micrograms/day).We analyzed 2,047 cases and 3,718 controls. Median values (ranges) for average lifetime residential tap water concentrations of total THMs, chloroform, and brominated THMs were 30 (0-174), 17 (0-63), and 9 (0-145) ?g/L, respectively. Total THM concentration in residential tap water was not associated with colorectal cancer (OR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.66, 1.28 for highest vs. lowest quartile), but chloroform concentrations were inversely associated (OR = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.24, 0.41 for highest vs. lowest quartile). Brominated THM concentrations showed a positive association among men in the highest versus the lowest quartile (OR = 1.43, 95% CI: 0.83, 2.46). Patterns of association were similar for estimated average THM ingestion through residential water consumption.We did not find clear evidence of an association between detailed estimates of lifetime total THM exposure and colorectal cancer in our large case-control study population. Negative associations with chloroform concentrations and ingestion suggest differences among specific THMs, but these findings should be confirmed in other study populations. Citation: Villanueva CM, Gracia-Lavedan E, Bosetti C, Righi E, Molina AJ, Martín V, Boldo E, Aragonés N, Perez-Gomez B, Pollan M, Gomez Acebo I, Altzibar JM, Jiménez Zabala A, Ardanaz E, Peiró R, Tardón A, Chirlaque MD, Tavani A, Polesel J, Serraino D, Pisa F, Castaño-Vinyals G, Espinosa A, Espejo-Herrera N, Palau M, Moreno V, La Vecchia C, Aggazzotti G, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Kogevinas M. 2017. Colorectal cancer and long-term exposure to trihalomethanes in drinking water: a multicenter case---control study in Spain and Italy. Environ Health Perspect 125:56-65;?http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP155.
Project description:Trihalomethanes (THMs) are water disinfection by-products that have been associated with bladder cancer and adverse birth outcomes. Four THMs (bromoform, chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane) were measured in blood and tap water of U.S. adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2006. THMs are metabolized to potentially toxic/mutagenic intermediates by cytochrome p450 (CYP) 2D6 and CYP2E1 enzymes.We conducted exploratory analyses of blood THMs, including factors affecting CYP2D6 and CYP2E1 activity.We used weighted multivariable regressions to evaluate associations between blood THMs and water concentrations, survey year, and other factors potentially affecting THM exposure or metabolism (e.g., prescription medications, cruciferous vegetables, diabetes, fasting, pregnancy, swimming).From 1999 to 2006, geometric mean blood and water THM levels dropped in parallel, with decreases of 32%-76% in blood and 38%-52% in water, likely resulting, in part, from the lowering of the total THM drinking water standard in 2002-2004. The strongest predictors of blood THM levels were survey year and water concentration (n = 4,232 total THM; n = 4,080 bromoform; n = 4,582 chloroform; n = 4,374 bromodichloromethane; n = 4,464 dibromochloromethane). We detected statistically significant inverse associations with diabetes and eating cruciferous vegetables in all but the bromoform model. Medications did not consistently predict blood levels. Afternoon/evening blood samples had lower THM concentrations than morning samples. In a subsample (n = 230), air chloroform better predicted blood chloroform than water chloroform, suggesting showering/bathing was a more important source than drinking.We identified several factors associated with blood THMs that may affect their metabolism. The potential health implications require further study.
Project description:We previously conducted a study to assess whether household exposures to tap water increased an individual's internal dose of trihalomethanes (THMs). Increases in blood THM levels among subjects who showered or bathed were variable, with increased levels tending to cluster in two groups.Our goal was to assess the importance of personal characteristics, previous exposures, genetic polymorphisms, and environmental exposures in determining THM concentrations in blood after showering.One hundred study participants completed a health symptom questionnaire, a 48-hr food and water consumption diary, and took a 10-min shower in a controlled setting. We examined THM levels in blood samples collected at baseline and 10 and 30 min after the shower. We assessed the significance of personal characteristics, previous exposures to THMs, and specific gene polymorphisms in predicting postshower blood THM concentrations.We did not observe the clustering of blood THM concentrations observed in our earlier study. We found that environmental THM concentrations were important predictors of blood THM concentrations immediately after showering. For example, the chloroform concentration in the shower stall air was the most important predictor of blood chloroform levels 10 min after the shower (p < 0.001). Personal characteristics, previous exposures to THMs, and specific polymorphisms in CYP2D6 and GSTT1 genes were significant predictors of both baseline and postshowering blood THM concentrations as well as of changes in THM concentrations associated with showering.The inclusion of information about individual physiologic characteristics and environmental measurements would be valuable in future studies to assess human health effects from exposures to THMs in tap water.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Evidence associating exposure to water disinfection by-products with reduced birth weight and altered duration of gestation remains inconclusive. OBJECTIVE: We assessed exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) during pregnancy through different water uses and evaluated the association with birth weight, small for gestational age (SGA), low birth weight (LBW), and preterm delivery. METHODS: Mother-child cohorts set up in five Spanish areas during the years 2000-2008 contributed data on water ingestion, showering, bathing, and swimming in pools. We ascertained residential THM levels during pregnancy periods through ad hoc sampling campaigns (828 measurements) and regulatory data (264 measurements), which were modeled and combined with personal water use and uptake factors to estimate personal uptake. We defined outcomes following standard definitions and included 2,158 newborns in the analysis. RESULTS: Median residential THM ranged from 5.9 ?g/L (Valencia) to 114.7 ?g/L (Sabadell), and speciation differed across areas. We estimated that 89% of residential chloroform and 96% of brominated THM uptakes were from showering/bathing. The estimated change of birth weight for a 10% increase in residential uptake was -0.45 g (95% confidence interval: -1.36, 0.45 g) for chloroform and 0.16 g (-1.38, 1.70 g) for brominated THMs. Overall, THMs were not associated with SGA, LBW, or preterm delivery. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the high THM levels in some areas and the extensive exposure assessment, results suggest that residential THM exposure during pregnancy driven by inhalation and dermal contact routes is not associated with birth weight, SGA, LBW, or preterm delivery in Spain.
Project description:Exposure to trihalomethanes (or THMs: chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and dibromochloromethane [DBCM]) formed via drinking water disinfection has been associated with adverse reproductive outcomes and cancers of the digestive or genitourinary organs. However, few studies have examined potential associations between THMs and liver injury in humans, even though experimental studies suggest that these agents exert hepatotoxic effects, particularly among obese individuals. This study examined participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2006, N=2781) to test the hypothesis that THMs are associated with liver injury as assessed by alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity in circulation. Effect modification by body mass index (BMI) or alcohol consumption also was examined. Associations between blood THM concentrations and ALT activity were assessed using unconditional multiple logistic regression to calculate prevalence odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for exposure among cases with elevated ALT activity (men: >40IU/L, women: >30IU/L) relative to those with normal ALT, after adjustment for variables that may confound the relationship between ALT and THMs. Compared to controls, cases were 1.35 times more likely (95% CI: 1.02, 1.79) to have circulating DBCM concentrations exceeding median values in the study population. There was little evidence for effect modification by BMI, although the association varied by alcohol consumption. Among non-drinkers, cases were more likely than controls to be exposed to DBCM (OR: 3.30, 95% CI: 1.37, 7.90), bromoform (OR: 2.88, 95% CI: 1.21, 6.81), or brominated THMs (OR: 4.00, 95% CI: 1.31, 12.1), but no association was observed among participants with low, or moderate to heavy alcohol consumption. Total THM levels exceeding benchmark exposure limits continue to be reported both in the United States and globally. Results from this study suggest a need for further characterization of ALT activity and possibly other hepatic or metabolic diseases in populations with elevated drinking water THM concentrations.
Project description:High concentrations of trihalomethanes (THMs) in public water supplies potentially pose a health hazard, but exposure assessment remains a complex task. To interpret research findings and monitoring data for THMs, it is important to evaluate spatial and temporal variations in both total THM and the individual constituent compounds (including brominated species). We therefore aimed to determine the concentrations, and spatial and temporal variability of concentrations, of THMs public water supplies in Perth, Western Australia, which is known historically to have high brominated THM concentrations. We analysed water samples from 21 water distribution zones around Perth (including Busselton and Bunbury) across different seasons over a period of two years. A total of 250 samples provided a median total THM of 72 µg/L (range of 0-157 µg/L), which falls well within Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines. The concentration of all species, including brominated forms, also fell the World Health Organization's guidelines. Total THM concentrations were typically higher in spring and summer. A high degree of spatial variability was detected and appears to relate to the source water. Both the temporal and spatial variability in THM concentrations have implications for epidemiological studies, and monitoring.
Project description:Epidemiologists have used trihalomethanes (THMs) as a surrogate for overall disinfection byproduct (DBP) exposure based on the assumption that THM concentrations are proportional to concentrations of other DBP classes. Toxicological evidence indicates THMs are less potent toxins than unregulated classes like haloacetonitriles (HANs). If THMs are not proportional to the DBPs driving toxicity, the use of THMs to measure exposure may introduce non-trivial exposure misclassification bias in epidemiologic studies. This study developed statistical models to evaluate the covariance and proportionality of HAN and THM concentrations in a dataset featuring over 9500 measurements from 248 public water systems. THMs only explain ?30% of the variance in HANs, whether the data is pooled in a classic linear regression or hierarchically grouped by water system in a multilevel linear regression. The 95% prediction interval on HANs for the median THM concentration exceeds the interquartile range of HANs. Mean HAN:THM ratios range from ?2.4% to ?80% across water systems, and varied with source water category, season, disinfectant sequence and distribution system location. The HAN:THM ratio was 265% higher in groundwater systems than in surface water systems and declined by ?40% between finished effluent and maximum residence times in surface water systems with chlorine-chlorine disinfection. A maximum likelihood approach was used to estimate the misclassification bias that may result from using THMs to construct risk-ratios, assuming that HANs represent the "true" DBP exposure risk. The results indicate an odds ratio of ?2 estimated with THM concentrations could correspond to a true odds ratio of 4-5. These findings demonstrate the need for epidemiologic studies to evaluate exposure by measuring DBPs that are likely to drive toxicity.
Project description:Epidemiological studies have used various measures to characterize trihalomethane (THM) exposures, but the relationship of these indicators to exposure biomarkers remains unclear.We examined temporal and spatial variability in baseline blood THM concentrations and assessed the relationship between these concentrations and several exposure indicators (tap water concentration, water-use activities, multiroute exposure metrics).We measured water-use activity and THM concentrations in blood and residential tap water from 150 postpartum women from three U.S. locations.Blood ?THM [sum of chloroform (TCM), bromodichloromethane (BDCM), dibromo-chloromethane (DBCM), and bromoform (TBM)] concentrations varied by site and season. As expected based on variable tap water concentrations and toxicokinetic properties, the proportion of brominated species (BDCM, DBCM, and TBM) in blood varied by site (site 1, 24%; site 2, 29%; site 3, 57%) but varied less markedly than in tap water (site 1, 35%; site 2, 75%; site 3, 68%). The blood-water ?THM Spearman rank correlation coefficient was 0.36, with correlations higher for individual brominated species (BDCM, 0.62; DBCM, 0.53; TBM, 0.54) than for TCM (0.37). Noningestion water activities contributed more to the total exposure metric than did ingestion, but tap water THM concentrations were more predictive of blood THM levels than were metrics that incorporated water use.Spatial and temporal variability in THM concentrations was greater in water than in blood. We found consistent blood-water correlations across season and site for BDCM and DBCM, and multivariate regression results suggest that water THM concentrations may be an adequate surro-gate for baseline blood levels.
Project description:Quantitative predictions of impacts on public water supplies are essential for planning climate change adaptations. Monitoring data from five full-scale Scottish drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) showed that significant correlations exist between conditionally carcinogenic trihalomethanes (THMs) levels, water temperature (r?=?0.812, p?=?0.0013) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) (r?=?0.892, p?<?0.0001), respectively. The strong seasonality of these parameters demonstrated how climate can influence THMs formation. We quantified with laboratory experiments the sensitivity of THMs formation to changes in water temperature and DOC concentration. The laboratory data accurately reproduced real-world THM formation in the DWTPs. We then combined these validated relationships with information from the literature about future trends in mean summer temperatures and surface water DOC in the British Isles, to estimate future global warming impacts on THMs formation in DWTPs that use chlorine for disinfection. An increase in mean summer temperatures will likely increase THM formation, with a 1.8?°C temperature increase and 39% THMs increase by 2050 representing our mid-range scenario. Such an increase has major implications to potable water around the world, either an increased health risk or increased water treatment costs to maintain an equivalent quality potable supply.
Project description:Evidence for a relationship between trihalomethane (THM) or haloacetic acid (HAA) exposure and adverse fetal growth is inconsistent. Disinfection by-products exist as complex mixtures in water supplies, but THMs and HAAs have typically been examined separately.We investigated joint exposure at the individual level to THMs and HAAs in relation to birth weight in the multi-ethnic Born in Bradford birth cohort.Pregnant women reported their water consumption and activities via questionnaire. These data were combined with area-level THM and HAA concentrations to estimate integrated uptake of THMs into blood and HAA ingestion, accounting for boiling/filtering. We examined the relationship between THM and HAA exposures and birth weight of up to 7,438 singleton term babies using multiple linear regression, stratified by ethnicity.Among Pakistani-origin infants, mean birth weight was significantly lower in association with the highest versus lowest tertiles of integrated THM uptake (e.g., -53.7 g; 95% CI: -89.9, -17.5 for ? 1.82 vs. < 1.05 ?g/day of total THM) and there were significant trends (p < 0.01) across increasing tertiles, but there were no associations among white British infants. Neither ingestion of HAAs alone or jointly with THMs was associated with birth weight. Estimated THM uptake via showering, bathing, and swimming was significantly associated with lower birth weight in Pakistani-origin infants, when adjusting for THM and HAA ingestion via water consumption.To our knowledge, this is the largest DBP and fetal growth study to date with individual water use data, and the first to examine individual-level estimates of joint THM-HAA exposure. Our findings demonstrate associations between THM, but not HAA, exposure during pregnancy and reduced birth weight, but suggest this differs by ethnicity. This study suggests that THMs are not acting as a proxy for HAAs, or vice-versa.Smith RB, Edwards SC, Best N, Wright J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Toledano MB. 2016. Birth weight, ethnicity, and exposure to trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in drinking water during pregnancy in the Born in Bradford cohort. Environ Health Perspect 124:681-689; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1409480.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Epidemiological studies suggest that exposure to water disinfection by-products (DBPs) may increase the risk of certain birth defects. However, evidence for musculoskeletal defects (MSDs) is limited. Previous MSD studies have not examined DBPs beyond trihalomethanes (THMs) and have not separately examined limb or diaphragm defects which may have distinct developmental etiologies.<h4>Methods</h4>We calculated adjusted odds ratios (aORs) in a registry-based case-control study of birth defects in Massachusetts with complete quarterly 1999-2004 data on four THMs and five haloacetic acids (HAAs). We matched 10 controls each to 187 MSD cases based on week of conception. Weight-averaged town-level first-trimester DBP exposures were individually assigned based on residence at birth. We adjusted THM models for exposure to the sum of five HAAs (HAA5), and HAA models for the sum of four THMs (THM4).<h4>Results</h4>We detected positive exposure-response associations for all grouped MSDs with THM4 quintiles (aOR range: 1.90-3.18) and chloroform quartiles (aOR range: 1.30-2.21), and for reduction of upper or lower limbs with chloroform quartiles (aOR range: 2.39-3.52). We detected elevated aORs for diaphragmatic hernia with DBP9 (sum of THM4 and HAA5), and chloroform and bromodichloromethane tertiles and an exposure-response relationship for THM4 tertiles (aOR range: 1.67-1.80).<h4>Conclusions</h4>This is the first epidemiological study to examine HAAs in relation to MSDs. Given the indirect nature of our exposure assessment data and small case numbers, the exposure-response relationships that we detected for THM4 and chloroform warrant further investigation.