CDC Makes Advances in Identifying and Measuring Chemical Agents in Humans


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Journal of

Analytical Toxicology have collaborated on a special edition of the journal devoted

to assessing human exposure to chemical agents. The edition, released

today, highlights new methods using state-of-the-art instruments to

measure low-level exposure to chemicals, including, those that might be

used by terrorists, such as nerve agents, sulfur mustard agents, and

cyanide compounds, and provides detailed animal-exposure information and

reference values for assessing potential human exposure. 


"Exposure to chemical agents is a relatively modern concern and the literature base

describing methods for detecting exposure is scant," said Dr.  John

Barr, a CDC research chemist and guest editor of the journal.  "This

research is the most complete compilation of methods and data related to

biomonitoring for chemical agents."  


The 15 journal articles will serve as a preview of new techniques and

methods that have been developed and are used by the National

Biomonitoring Program (NBP), which is part of CDC's Environmental Health

Laboratory.  The program specializes in measuring toxic substances or

their metabolites in human specimens, such as blood or urine. NBP has

developed methods to measure about 300 environmental chemicals from two to three

tubes of blood and a regular urine sample.


In a chemical event, bio-monitoring data provides information about the

extent of exposure in a given individual and the proportion of a

population affected by the exposure.  The methods described in the

journal will be used to identify people who need treatment, those at

risk of developing long-term health effects or delayed health effects,

and those who are worried that they may have been exposed to a chemical

agent.   The methods also will be used to assist in other disciplines

like forensics.


"This research is setting the analytical standard and will increase the

scientific and public health community's knowledge about measuring these

agents," said Dr. Bruce A. Goldberger, PhD, editor in chief of the

Journal of Analytical Toxicology


Abstracts for the special issue can be found at    


Source: CDC     


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