What is human biomonitoring?

People are exposed to a complex mixture of chemicals in their daily lives through the environment, consumer products, food and drinking water and at work. Human biomonitoring allows the measurement of exposure to chemicals by measuring either the substances themselves, their metabolites or markers of subsequent health effects in body fluids or tissues.

Human biomonitoring provides a useful tool for assessing cumulative exposure to complex mixtures of chemicals. By collecting data from a representative sample of individuals under continuous surveillance programmes, health practitioners are able to evaluate the exposure of the general population to chemicals over time. Information on human exposure can be linked to data on sources and health effects, in order to inform research on exposure-response relationships in humans.

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