Biological Monitoring Committee
Prepared by PJE Quintana, San Diego State University
April 1, 2000
1. The AIHA Biological Monitoring committee and the industrial hygiene community have concentrated on several critical issues over this last decade, especially:
A. DEVELOPMENT OF BIOLOGICAL MARKERS
A main focus has been studying the absorption and metabolism of industrial compounds, developing guidelines for which compounds to monitor and when to take samples, and investigating and documenting the role of dermal exposure to worker exposure.
B. PROMOTING USE OF BIOLOGICAL MONITORING BY OEH PROFESSIONALS
Barriers to use include
-Lack of understanding of the benefits
-Lack of training in IH programs about Biological Monitoring
-No legal authority for IHs to implement Biological Monitoring in U.S.
-Government reluctance to be serious about using BM practically. NIOSH has not made BM an essential part of curriculum in their ERCs. OSHA and NIOSH have been reluctant to focus on Biological Monitoring.
2. It is the consensus of the Biological Monitoring Committee that the most pressing issues in Biological Monitoring during the next 5-10 years are:
A. OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO USE OF BIOLOGICAL MONITORING
-Better EDUCATION of workers, IH's, industry, and government will increase knowledge of appropriate situations for use of biological monitoring. Our committee is producding a handbook entitled Biological Monitoring, a Practical Guide', aimed at the practicing IH, to directly educate practicioners in biological monitoring.
-Incorporate Biological Monitoring into STANDARDS (OSHA) and GUIDELINES (various agencies and committees incl. NIOSH), especially for those compounds with a dermal route of exposure and which have no Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) from the ACGIH. There need to be quantitative standards to compare values against.
-Protection of PRIVACY and RIGHTS of WORKERS is more urgent than ever and needs to be directly addressed (concerns are more acute due to new genetic tests, potential misuse of biological samples for drug tests as dip stiick tests are now available, etc.). Our committee will provide a model consent form as part of the Guide, above.
-Need for commercial LABORATORIES able to analyze a wide variety of compounds available to IH's, and for laboratories to have more detailed guidelines/ regs to follow standard procedures, have more round robins, and more standards commercially available
B. SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IS NEEDED
-To identify background levels of markers in different ethnic groups, ages and genders, and identify potential confounders from diet, smoking, alcohol use, etc.
-To investigate the role of Biological Monitoring in assessing of complex mixtures and interactions in the body.
-To identify exposure scenarios where biological monitoring may uniquely be able to solve problems.
-To continue development of easy and inexpensive Biological Monitoring tests to aid implementation.
-To study dermal exposure from work surfaces and work environments and development for methods of assessing surface contamination
New areas of opportunity for industrial hygienists are in
1. Laboratory services to support biological monitoring
2. Marketing skills in implemention and management of biological monitoring programs
3. Consulting in privacy rights and ethical issues