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Environmental Chemicals in People: Challenges in Interpreting Biomonitoring Information

By Judy S. LaKind, Ph.D., Leila Barraj, Ph.D., Nga Tran, Ph.D., Lesa L. Aylward, M.S.

Biomonitoring, the measurement of chemicals in blood, urine, and other tissues or fluids, is becoming an increasingly common tool in the study of human exposure to environmental chemicals and the potential health effects of those chemicals. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) now includes biomonitoring data for hundreds of chemicals as well as information on other health and demographic endpoints for thousands of individuals in the United States. The NHANES databases provide valuable information for deriving reference ranges and trend information and can be used for hypothesis-generating analyses, but they cannot be used to establish causal relationships between environmental chemicals and health effects.

 

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Reprinted by permission from the May 2008 Issue of the Journal of Environmental Health, the official publication of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).

About NEHA

NEHA is a non-profit association for public health professionals. Since 1937, the association has worked to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all. NEHA’s 4,500+ members practice their profession in the public and private sectors as well as in academia and the uniformed services, with a majority being employed by state and local county health departments. In addition, NEHA’s Journal of Environmental Health has subscribers in over 40 countries around the world. Because it encompasses the entire environmental health profession, this single organization effectively serves as the forum for discussion of - and can address the broad spectrum of - environmental health issues. For more information, go to www.neha.org.

 

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Environmental Chemicals in People: Challenges in Interpreting Biomonitoring Information:  Created on September 17th, 2009.  Last Modified on September 17th, 2009

 

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