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Selecting Biomarkers in Exposure Monitoring

What are the key considerations in selecting appropriate biomarkers for exposure monitoring? Watch the video to learn more.

Pharmacokinetics is an important factor in selecting matrices for biomarker analyses. The half-life of a chemical determines how long biomarkers can detect exposures, with longer half-lives reflecting exposures over months or even years.

Short half-lives result in biomonitoring reflecting very recent exposures, but can still provide reliable dosimeters for constant exposures. Sensitivity, specificity, biological relevance, and practicality are important considerations when selecting biomarkers. Sensitivity should vary consistently and quantitatively with exposure, while specificity should be specific for the chemical or its metabolites of interest. The biomarker should also be relevant to the exposure-effect continuum and the cost of analyses should be considered. In risk assessment and management, prior-generated risk assessment information can aid in decision-making to protect public health.

Review questions:

  • What is the significance of a chemical’s half-life in selecting biomarkers for exposure monitoring?
  • What are the key considerations when selecting biomarkers for exposure monitoring?
  • How do sensitivity and specificity influence the selection of biomarkers for exposure monitoring?
  • What role does risk assessment information play in the management of public health risks from chemical exposure?
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