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Title: Communicating their individual results to participants in an environmental exposure study: Insights from clinical ethics

A study measuring the uptake of chemical contaminants among sport fishers who consume fish caught in the St. Lawrence river is currently being conducted in Montreal, Canada. In this study, blood, hair, and urine collected from local sport fishers is being tested for heavy metals and persistent organochlorine chemicals. The objective of this study was to formulate a framework for determining what information to communicate to individual subjects of a study measuring biomarkers of exposure, consistent with the principles of ethical clinical and research practice. Methods consisted of review of the scope of environmental exposure studies, including the use of biomarker measurement in clinical medicine and environmental research and the relevant principles of clinical ethics and research practice. An exposure biomarker study is designed to elucidate constitutional, behavioral, and environmental determinants of tissue concentrations of exogenous substances. Ethical clinical and research practice, aiming to maximize autonomy and beneficence and to minimize harm, requires that study findings concerning the determinants of exposure be communicated to study participants. In addition, investigators should reference clinical action levels beyond which individual biomarker results are routinely communicated to participants. When biomarkers have no known relation to risk, or when levels fall below action levels, itmore » may be preferable not co communicate individual results, if this arrangement has been formalized at the time of informed consent.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. McGill Univ., Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Community Health Residency Programme
  2. McGill Univ., Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Dept. of Occupational Health|[Public Health Dept., Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
355619
Report Number(s):
CONF-9705313--
Journal ID: ENVRAL; ISSN 0013-9351; TRN: IM9931%%139
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 80; Journal Issue: 2Pt2; Conference: Health conference `97, Montreal (Canada), 12-15 May 1997; Other Information: PBD: Feb 1999
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 56 BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, APPLIED STUDIES; ST LAWRENCE RIVER; WATER POLLUTION; FOOD CHAINS; HEALTH HAZARDS; MAN; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; FISHES; METALS; ORGANIC CHLORINE COMPOUNDS; BIOLOGICAL ACCUMULATION; BIOLOGICAL MARKERS