Understanding environmental risk: The role of the laboratory in epidemiology, evaluation, and policy setting

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Abstract

This paper examines the role of the laboratory in identifying environmental hazards, understanding human exposures and health effects, measuring environmental progress, and shaping the environmental health policy agenda for the future. The advances in laboratory techniques in the 1970s and 1980s provided the scientific foundation for a revolution in environmental policy. Despite the progress of the past two decades, many questions about the health effects of environmental exposures remain. The challenge to the laboratories is to provide a scientific framework for answering these questions. Three case studies of hazardous waste sites are presented to illustrate the needs for improved measurement of total human exposure to environmental pollutants. Recommendations are presented for expanding the role of the laboratory in measuring public health risks, evaluating the effectiveness of risk management strategies, and shaping the development of future environmental health policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1522
Number of pages4
JournalClinical chemistry
Volume38
Issue number8 Part 2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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