Exposure assessment in the form of biomonitoring is a critical component to linking a hazard with a potentially related health effect. However, it is costly and labor intensive to conduct dedicated exposure assessment studies at the level of the individual to evaluate a possible association between a hazard and a health outcome identified at the county, Zip Code, or census tract level. This approach is also at odds with the unobtrusive tracking of hazards and health outcomes that is the hallmark of the Tracking Network. UPACE has therefore been investigating potential methodologies associated with a community-based biomonitoring approach characterized by the use of fish and other animal monitoring. To that end, UPACE-EPHT investigator Dr. Conrad (Dan) Volz, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, has been studying fish as biomonitors for source pollution and exposure assessment in southwestern Pennsylvania. Metals that have been assessed include mercury, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, strontium, lead, selenium and chromium. Dr. Volz has also investigated channel catfish and white bass as sentinels for estrogenic compounds in water.
Conrad Volz, DrPH. 2008. A comparison of water quality variables and concentrations of selected toxic and nuisance elements at various distances and depths downstream from Allegheny River gravel mining operations during periods of activity and inactivity. Ohio Basin Conference, ORBCRE Scientific Symposium 2008, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa., October 29-31, 2008 [PPT]
Conrad Volz, DrPH 2008. Community Driven Research: Preliminary Exposure Assessment and Results of Water Sampling Along the Allegheny River Associated with Legacy Contamination at the Former Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries, Inc. Cadogan Waste Disposal Site. Ohio Basin Conference, ORBCRE Scientific Symposium 2008, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa., October 29-31, 2008 [PDF]