The collection of invasive samples from susceptible populations may suffer from ethical and practical limitations that restrict the routine application of human biomonitoring. Moreover, the accumulation of exposure data will be unsuccessful in risk assessment if not integrated through the appropriate sets of biomarkers for early biological responses. This paper reviews the usefulness and limitations of non–invasively collected matrices as well as common and novel biomarkers of effect for evaluating the impact of environmental exposure to pesticides in periods of high susceptibility to toxicants. We conclude that in the prenatal period, placenta and umbilical cord blood are matrices with vast potential, as saliva is for childhood biomonitoring. Thus, the development of better technology and the use of novel approaches may be useful strategies. Prospective studies that integrate the information from different matrices obtained throughout pregnancy and childhood, and their association with childhood diseases, are advantageous.
Keywords: pesticides, biomarkers, non–invasive samples, prenatal development, childhood, environmental exposure, risk assessment, toxicants, pregnancy, placenta, umbilical cord blood, saliva, biomonitoring