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Biomarkers have emerged as an exciting tool in disease prevention, particularly in the workplace. They may be used to document workers' exposure to toxins, signal the onset of health effects, or identify individuals with susceptibility to certain environmental threats. But the uncertainty is as great as the potential. Are biomarkers suitable for widespread use? How can they be deployed in diverse contexts? How can biological information about workers be handled fairly and ethically?

Biomarkers and Occupational Health describes the state of biomarker development, including the implications of the Human Genome program, and presents a range of viewpoints on the future of biomarkers from the leaders in the field.

This book explores the three basic types of biomarkers (markers of exposure, markers of health effects, and markers of susceptibility to disease) from a variety of perspectives. It examines what can be learned from well-known exposure sites—Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl, and the Hanford nuclear site in the United States, for example—and a wide range of human cases and animal studies. The book also explores the costs and ramifications of developing a large-scale program to monitor potentially exposed workers (e.g., at a cleanup site).

A framework is offered for the use of biomarkers based on the mandate to "change the environment before you change the worker." The book explores how to identify ethical issues, how to set development priorities, and how to integrate biomarkers into an occupational health and safety program.

The authors present the latest technical findings about markers for chronic beryllium disease as well as markers for exposure to carcinogens, radiation, and chronium—including prospects for detecting long-past exposures.

Biomarkers and Occupational Health offers an update on biomarker development and explores a wide scope of issues. This book will be important to occupational health professionals, biomedical researchers, toxicologists, epidemiologists, and labor and management officials involved in worker health issues.

Moritmer L. Mendelsohn, M.D., Ph.D., is Vice-Chairman of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) in Japan, which studies the long-term health effects of the atomic blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and he is former Associate Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

John P. Peeters, Ph.D., is a geneticist who is currently directing a division of the Office of Occupational Medicine for the United States Department of Energy.

Mary Janet Normandy, Ph.D., is a toxicologist who specializes in the metabolism of xenobiotics in mammalian systems. She is currently a member of the Department of Energy's Office of Occupational Medicine.

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The views expressed in this book are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academies.

Suggested Citation

Mortimer L. Mendelsohn, et al. 1995. Biomarkers and Occupational Health: Progress and Perspectives. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.

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Publication Info

346 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Hardcover:  978-0-309-05187-3
  • PDF Full Book:  978-0-309-56875-3
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-17640-8
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-x
Introduction 1-6
Part 1 National and International Perspectives 7-8
The Current Applicability of Large Scale Biomarkers Programs to Monitor Cleanup Workers 9-19
Biomarkers -- A Perspective from the Commission of the European Communities 20-24
The Role of the NIEHS in the Development of a National Program for Environmental Health Science Research 25-34
Part 2 Ethical and Legal Considerations 35-36
Legal Concerns in Worker Notification and the Use of Biomarkers in Medical Surveillance 37-47
Biomedical Research Ethics Related to Biomarkers 48-51
Biomarkers: The Down Side 52-58
Part 3 Priorities, Costs, and Standards 59-60
Application of Biomarkers: Getting our Priorities Straight 61-69
Costs of Developing a Large-Scale Biomarker Program to Monitor Cleanup Workers 70-88
Biological Monitoring of Exposure to Industrial Chemicals 89-102
Part 4 Study Design 103-104
Validation of DNA Adducts as Biological Markers of Carcinogen Exposure and Effects 105-108
The Development, Validation, and Application of Biomarkers for Early Biologic Effects 109-115
The Development, Validation, and Application of Biomarkers for HIV 116-119
Quantitative Decision Support Systems for Surveillance and Clinical Applications 120-130
Part 5 Cleanup Workers and Other Medical Needs 131-132
Medical Surveillance at a Hazardous Waste Site 133-139
Integrating Biomarkers into Health and Safety Programs 140-147
Clinical Applications of Biomarkers in Occupational Medicine 148-160
Part 6 Recent Technical Advances in Biomarkers Research 161-162
Mutant p21 Protein as a Biomarker of Chemical Carcinogenesis in Humans 163-173
Validation Studies for Monitoring of Workers Using Molecular Cytogenetics 174-193
Molecular Cytogenetic Approaches to the Development of Biomarkers 194-214
Biomarkers to Detect Radiation Exposures 215-225
Dioxin Congeners Distribution in Biological Samples as Biomarkers for Exposure 226-237
Xenobiotic-Metabolizing Enzymes in Biomarker Research 238-256
Implications of Large Scale DNA Analysis for the Development and Application of Biomarkers 257-263
Epigenetic Biomarkers: Potentials and Limitations 264-274
Flow Cytometry: A Powerful Technology for Measuring Biomarkers 275-290
Part 7 Cases in Point: Monitoring Worker Exposures to Metals 291-292
A Genetic Marker for Chronic Beryllium Disease 293-303
Immunology of Chronic Beryllium Disease 304-312
Biological Monitoring of Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium in Isolated Erythrocytes 313-324
Contributors 325-328
Abbreviations 329-332
Index 333-336

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