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What is it?

Biomarkers are measurable indicators of the severity or presence of some disease status. More generally, it is anything that can be used as an indicator of a particular disease state or some other physiological state of an organism.

What are biomarkers for?

Whether exposure or effect, they are tools used in environmental epidemiological studies, seeking to establish a relationship between exposure to chemical agents and the health effects of exposed individuals. Its use may have the purpose of elucidating the cause-effect and dose-effect relationship in health risk assessment; for clinical diagnosis purposes; and for biological monitoring purposes, carried out systematically and periodically.

How do biomarkers work?

Evaluating the presence and quantity of a biomarker allows you to perceive issues such as hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, susceptibility, etc. In this way, the use allows the association with exposure to low levels, providing knowledge and scientific evidence necessary for the application of measures to prevent and control exposure to environmental chemical agents within the scope of public policies.

Examples of biomarkers

As examples of biomarkers we have blood samples, urine, saliva collected by a health care professional, or even a drop of blood like those obtained in blood glucose monitoring of diabetic patients. They are examples of markers that we can objectively measure and indicate whether any specific process of the body is normal or altered, which may indicate a condition or disease.


Article: AMORIM, Leiliane Coelho André. Biomarkers and their application in the evaluation of exposure to environmental chemical agents. Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia, v. 6, p. 158-170, 2003.

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