Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
AMORIM, Leiliane Coelho André. Biomarkers for evaluating exposure to chemical agents present in the environment. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2003, vol.6, n.2, pp. 158-170. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2003000200009.
One of goals of environmental health is to prevent disease and injuries caused by chemical pollutants present in the environment. The main objective is to keep chemical exposure to an acceptable level that does not imply in risk. In order to accomplish that, it is necessary to identify and quantify chemical risk through biological assessment of human exposure. In this review, we present concepts and principles covering the utilization of biological indicators in order to evaluate exposure to chemicals and risk to human health. The use of biomarkers with different purposes may be classified in to three types: of exposure (internal dose), of effect and of susceptibility, which are means for identifying toxic substances or hazardous conditions before demage to health has occurred. New parameters are presented, such as biomarkers of neurotoxicity (or surrogate indicators), whose purpose is to detect early action of chemicals on the nervous system, through the determination of indicators present in peripheral body fluids, which are equivalent parameters of the nervous tissue.
Keywords : Chemical exposure; Biomarkers of internal dose; Biomarkers of effect; Biomarkers of susceptibility; Surrogate indicators.