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Biological Monitoring

Biological Monitoring


Biological monitoring (BM) is the measurement of hazardous chemicals or their metabolites in tissues, secretions, excreta or expired air, or any combination of these in exposed workers.  Measurements reflect the total exposure levels by dermal, ingestion and inhalation routes and are made either on samples of breath, urine, blood or any combination of these. Biological monitoring does not identify or measure the extent of ill health, but will provide information on adequacy of exposure control.

Many commonly used chemicals in the workplace could potentially result in hazardous substances entering the body and causing health problems away from the site of entry, for example:  

Systemic diseases

  • bladder and scrotal cancers

  • kidney disease

  • heart disease

  • circulatory and nervous system diseases, and

  • poisoning 

Why do Biological Monitoring?

Biological monitoring has a number of roles in exposure assessment, and is particularly useful:

  • to check that control measures are working

  • to check that work practices are protective

  • to check that training is understood and followed

  • for substances that are absorbed through the skin

  • where control of dermal exposure relies on correct selection and use of PPE

  • where toxicity to other parts of the body is a possibility

  • where there is an established relationship between BM data and the potential for effects elsewhere in the body

MEC use biological monitoring as a means of assessing chemical exposures by measuring the chemical or its breakdown products in a biological sample, the results of which should provide you with essential information for preventing or minimising exposures to hazardous substances under COSHH.

Over 20 years'


MEC offer a broad range of occupational hygiene services across all sectors of industry

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