NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Biological monitoring and standard setting in the USA: a critical appraisal.
Toxicol Lett 1995 May; 77(1-3):171-182
Two advantages of biomonitoring compared with air monitoring were discussed with reference to the occupational exposure limits used by OSHA, which has relied on air monitoring, rather than biomonitoring to determine whether a group of workers is in compliance with occupational exposure limits. The standards by which OSHA establishes permissible exposure limits for hazardous chemicals were described. The controversies associated with dose versus dose rate used in setting short term exposure limits and the advantages of biomonitoring as the primary means of assessment after long term exposure were discussed. The exposure/biomarker relationship was described for air and blood levels of lead (7439921). The use of air and blood lead levels to determine compliance was discussed. When exposure is not in compliance, OSHA requires medical surveillance or blood tests. Because substances like lead and cadmium (7440439) accumulate in tissues over months, blood concentrations can be much lower than air levels. In such cases, biomonitoring would be better because the individual variability of the biomarker would be smaller than personal exposures. Biomonitoring is currently muddled because its advantages require collecting concurrent air and biological data for the same people for long time periods, which is unlikely without official sanctions. The author concludes that in setting and enforcing new standards, OSHA should give more prominence to biomonitoring.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Grants-other; Risk-analysis; Exposure-limits; Heavy-metals; Dose-response; Toxicology; Biological-monitoring; Air-sampling; Occupational-exposure
Biomedical & Environ Hlth Scis University of California School of Public Health Berkeley, CA 94720
Issue of Publication
Other Occupational Concerns; Grants-other
University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division