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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2007 May;210(3-4):229-38. Epub 2006 Dec 8.

Uses and issues of biomonitoring.

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  • 1National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mailstop F17, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724, USA.


In the last two decades, an explosion in information and literature on human biomonitoring data has occurred. Symposia, workshops, and workgroups have been formed to discuss all issues surrounding biomonitoring. One such workgroup, formed by the International Life Sciences Institute's Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), developed a wheel which has biomonitoring at its hub; its spokes depict the uses of biomonitoring. As it rolls and picks up speed, the biomonitoring wheel will no doubt gain additional spokes. In this manuscript, we describe and give examples of these biomonitoring uses and some of their further applications as well as some of the issues surrounding biomonitoring. Special emphasis is placed on the uses and limitations of large-scale representative cross sectional studies such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in the United States. Priority setting, improved modeling methods for interpreting the biomonitoring data, and an increase in studies designed to associate health indicators and health risks to selected environmental chemicals are needed to increase the power of biomonitoring.

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