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Toxicol Sci. 2006 Sep;93(1):3-10. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Strategic biomonitoring initiatives: moving the science forward.

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  • 1Institute of Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, University of Erlangen, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany.


Biomonitoring programs in the United States and Europe demonstrate the vast array of data that are publicly available for the evaluation of exposure trends, identification of susceptible populations, detection of emerging chemical risks, the conduct of epidemiology studies, and evaluation of risk reduction strategies. To cultivate international discussion on these issues, the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute convened a scientific session at its annual meeting in January 2006 on "Integration of Biomonitoring Exposure Data into the Risk Assessment Process." This Forum paper presents perspectives from session speakers on the biomonitoring activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Research Council Committee on Human Biomonitoring for Environmental Toxicants, the German Commission on Human Biomonitoring, and the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute Biomonitoring Technical Committee. Speakers noted that better estimates of biological concentrations of substances in the tissues of human populations can be combined with other exposure indices, as well as epidemiological and toxicologic data, to improve risk estimates. With this type of combined data, the potential also exists to define exposure levels at which hazard and risk are of minimal concern. Limitations in interpreting biomonitoring data were discussed, including the need for different criteria for applying biomonitoring data for exposure assessment, risk assessment, risk management, or disease prevention purposes. As efforts and resources are expended to improve the ability to apply biomonitoring exposure data in the risk assessment process, it is equally important to communicate the significance of such data to the public.

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