International Development, Community, and Environment


Human Interindividual Variability in Parameters Related to Health Risks

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This paper reviews existing data on the variability in parameters relevant for health risk analyses. We cover both exposure-related parameters and parameters related to individual susceptibility to toxicity. The toxicity/susceptibility data base under construction is part of a longer term research effort to lay the groundwork for quantitative distributional analyses of non-cancer toxic risks. These data are broken down into a variety of parameter types that encompass different portions of the pathway from external exposure to the production of biological responses. The discrete steps in this pathway, as we now conceive them, are: Contact Rate (Breathing rates per body weight; fish consumption per body weight); Uptake or Absorption as a Fraction of Intake or Contact Rate General Systemic Availability Net of First Pass Elimination and Dilution via Distribution Volume (e.g., initial blood concentration per mg/kg of uptake); Systemic Elimination (half life or clearance); Active Site Concentration per Systemic Blood or Plasma Concentration Physiological Parameter Change per Active Site Concentration (expressed as the dose required to make a given percentage change in different people, or the dose required to achieve some proportion of an individual's maximum response to the drug or toxicant); Functional Reserve Capacity-Change in Baseline Physiological Parameter Needed to Produce a Biological Response or Pass a Criterion of Abnormal Function. Comparison of the amounts of variability observed for the different parameter types suggests that appreciable variability is associated with the final step in the process-differences among people in 'functional reserve capacity.' This has the implication that relevant information for estimating effective toxic susceptibility distributions may be gleaned by direct studies of the population distributions of key physiological parameters in people that are not exposed to the environmental and occupational toxicants that are thought to perturb those parameters. This is illustrated with some recent observations of the population distributions of Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol from the second and third National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

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Risk Analysis

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exposure, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, risk assessment, susceptibility, variability