Validation of trichloroacetic acid exposure via drinking water during pregnancy using a urinary TCAA biomarker

Environ Res. 2013 Oct;126:145-51. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2013.05.004. Epub 2013 Jun 12.


Disinfection by-product (DBP) exposure during pregnancy may be related to reduced fetal growth, but the evidence is inconclusive and improved DBP exposure assessment is required. The authors conducted a nested exposure study on a subset (n=39) of pregnant women in the Born in Bradford cohort to assess validity of TCAA exposure assessment based on tap water sampling and self-reported water-use; water-use questionnaire validity; and use of a one-time urinary TCAA biomarker. TCAA levels in urine and home tap water supply were quantified, and water use was measured via a questionnaire and 7-day diary, at 28 weeks gestation. Diary and urine measures were repeated later in pregnancy (n=14). TCAA level in home tap water supply was not correlated with urinary TCAA (0.18, P=0.29). Cold unfiltered tap water intake at home measured by questionnaire was correlated with urinary TCAA (0.44, P=0.007), but correlation was stronger still for cold unfiltered tap water intake reported over the 3 days prior to urine sampling (0.60, P<0.001). For unemployed women TCAA ingestion at home, derived from tap water sampling and self-reported water-use, correlated strongly with urinary TCAA (0.78, P<0.001), but for employed women the correlation was weak (0.31, P=0.20). Results suggest individual tap water intake is most influential in determining TCAA exposure variability in this cohort, and that TCAA ingestion at home is a valid proxy for TCAA exposure for unemployed women but less satisfactory for employed women.

Keywords: BiB; Biomarker; Born in Bradford; CI; Confidence Interval; DBP; Disinfection by-product; Disinfection by-products; Drinking water; Exposure assessment; FMU; First morning urine; HAA; Haloacetic acid; ICC; Intra-class correlation coefficient; Pregnancy; TCAA; THM; Trichloroacetic acid; Trihalomethane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Drinking Water / administration & dosage
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Trichloroacetic Acid / urine*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Biomarkers
  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Trichloroacetic Acid