Biomonitoring is the laboratory measurement of chemicals in blood, urine and human tissue. Looking for chemicals in the body is not new; scientists have known for decades that our bodies take in chemicals through breathing, eating, drinking and absorption through our skin. Regulatory agencies have relied upon biomonitoring data in public health situations for decades. Biological exposure indices, for example, have been created for more than 40 industrial chemicals. These indices represent guidelines for safe exposure levels of chemical found in workers' blood, urine or exhaled air.
Chemicals in Our Bodies: The Next Frontier
Several well-organized nongovernmental organizations have initiated campaigns to heighten awareness about the presence of chemicals in our bodies to jump-start the collection of biomonitoring data. The results of these initiatives will influence risk-assessment practices, legislation and regulatory developments for years to come.