NIOSH Posts New Chapter on Biological Monitoring for Chemical Exposures

The 43-page chapter, titled "Application of Biological Monitoring Methods for Chemical Exposures in Occupational Health," explains why biomonitoring is a valuable tool for demonstrating compliance with exposure limits, research, health monitoring, and risk assessment and management.

NIOSH has posted a new draft chapter to be published in its Manual of Analytical Methods. The draft chapter concerns biological monitoring methods for chemical exposures, and the agency is accepting comments on it until Dec. 15. Stakeholders can find it by visiting www.regulations.gov and searching for CDC-2017-0090 in the search box.

The 43-page chapter is titled "Application of Biological Monitoring Methods for Chemical Exposures in Occupational Health" and lists four individuals as authors: D. Gayle DeBord, Ph.D.; Dale Shoemaker, Ph.D.; Clayton B'Hymer, Ph.D.; and John Snawder, Ph.D., DABT.

They explain why biomonitoring is a valuable tool for demonstrating compliance with exposure limits, research, health monitoring, and risk assessment and management. "The spectrum of exposures for which biomarkers can be useful includes the full range of occupational hazards from noise to stress to chemicals," they write. "While this document generally focuses on chemical exposures, the considerations of purposes, study design criteria, quality assurance, and the ethical and safety issues have general application. The guidance provided in this document is particularly relevant to urinary and blood biomonitoring and is generally relevant to other biomonitoring assays that measure response or susceptibility factors such as genetic toxicology tests or gene variants."

The chapter discusses National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences work in this area and also the types of biomonitoring that are required by OSHA, including tests for employees who are exposed to benzene, cadmium, or lead. NIOSH has no recommended exposure limits based on biomonitoring, it says, but it notes that ACGIH publishes a list of biological exposure indices, as do the German Research Foundation; Britain's Health and Safety Executive; ANSES, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety; and the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund.

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