Health Group Explains Limits and Potential Benefits of Biomonitoring

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New York, NY -- July 2005. The mere detection of a chemical in human tissue samples does not indicate an increased health risk, especially since technologies now allow scientists to detect extremely tiny amounts of chemicals in people, according to a new publication by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).

In view of the upcoming release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention s (CDC) third biomonitoring report on the levels of approximately 150 chemicals that can be found in Americans, ACSH has published the report Biomonitoring: Measuring Levels of Chemicals in People and What the Results Mean, which explains biomonitoring studies and gives context to their results.

The results from biomonitoring are generally not meaningful in themselves for determining health risk. They must be carefully combined with other data on chemicals and health in order to determine whether the levels generally found in people are cause for any concern. There is currently no evidence that the trace levels of the vast majority of chemicals to which the general population is typically exposed pose a health hazard, according to the report.

The ACSH report is based on a more extensive peer-reviewed paper by Dr. Dennis Paustenbach and Dr. David Galbraith. Scientists from prestigious institutions including Yale University and Rutgers University peer-reviewed the paper. It also discusses the history of biomonitoring, the sources of chemicals measured in biomonitoring, and how scientists use different types of biological samples to measure individuals exposures to chemicals.

We are exposed to many chemicals both natural and synthetic through our everyday contact with food, water, consumer products, and other sources,