The use of biomarkers in occupational health research, practice, and policy.
Toxicol Lett 2012 Aug; 213(1):91-99
Biomarkers are potentially useful tools for occupational health and safety research, practice, and policy. However, the full realization of this potential has not been achieved. In this paper, the progress made in these three usage areas is reviewed to identify what efforts can be taken to realize the full promise of biomarkers. Biomarker uses are described by a diverse taxonomy that builds on the categories of exposure, effect and susceptibility, and the continuum between exposure and disease prognosis. The most significant uses of biomarkers in occupational health have been in biological monitoring of workers. Other important uses have been in enhancing research and assessing mechanisms of action of occupational toxicants at low exposures. Seven critical areas will influence the extent to which the potential of biomarkers in occupational health and safety is realized. These include: (1) adequate investment in validation; (2) obtaining international agreement on exposure guidelines; (3) exploring the utility of biomarkers in regulation; (4) applying biomarkers to critical occupational safety and health questions; (5) developing the exposome; (6) utilizing biomarkers to address emerging occupational health issues; and (7) continuing to address the ethical and social justice issues related to biomarkers. Overall, if biomarkers are to make a major contribution to occupational health and safety then a more holistic approach to bringing them from the laboratory to practice will be needed.
Biomarkers; Exposure-assessment; Quantitative-analysis; Standards; Worker-health; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies;
Author Keywords: Biomarkers; Biological monitoring; Policy; Mechanism
Paul A. Schulte, National Institutefor Occupational Safetyand Health, Centers for Disease Controland Prevention, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MSC-14, Cincinnati, OH 45226,USA