Biomonitoring; measuring chemicals in people
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Biomonitoring; measuring chemicals in people

Filetype[PDF-117.44 KB]

  • English

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      Public health professionals, policymakers, and the public are increasingly concerned about human exposure to chemicals in our environment. We all know that while chemicals have dramatically improved our quality of life, chemical residues are widespread in our water, soil, and air. This widespread environmental presence raises critical questions that need to be addressed. We need to determine the actual concentrations of dangerous chemicals in our bodies as a result of environmental exposure, how long these chemicals stay in our bodies, how often are we exposed to them at various stages of life, the ages at which significant exposures occur, which population groups have elevated exposures, and what relationship the presence of certain chemicals in our bodies has on the development of disease, abnormality, or death. The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) believes the best way to address these important questions regarding human exposure is through biomonitoring, a rigorous scientific process that measures levels of environmental chemicals in human tissues and fluids. While knowing what chemicals are present in the environment is important, it is even more important to determine through biomonitoring whether they are actually present in the human body as a result of environmental exposure. Such data are essential to demonstrate casual relationships between chemical exposure and human health. The material that follows explains (1) the importance of biomonitoring, which has been employed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for many years to help protect the public’s health, and (2) the case for building biomonitoring capacity at the state level in addition to CDC. Many states have spent the last two years working with local partners to develop biomonitoring plans. These states are now ready and eager to implement their plans to address state-specific chemical/public health issues. At APHL, we believe the ability of state public health laboratories to protect the public’s health depends in part on our ability to quickly and effectively measure chemicals within people who may have been exposed. The role of our public health laboratories is to provide health professionals with the analytical data they need to make decisions about protecting the public’s health, based on good science. Biomonitoring is good science that provides unique information to enable the medical community and state public health laboratories to carry out their missions.

      Includes bibliographical references (p. 15).

      This report was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number U60/CCU303019 from CDC.

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