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
"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