Framework for the development and application of environmental biological monitoring guidance values

Ruth Bevan*, Juergen Angerer, John Cocker, Kate Jones, Holger M. Koch, Ovnair Sepai, Greet Schoeters, Roel Smolders, Len Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Human biomonitoring (HBM) is widely recognised as a useful tool to aid assessment of exposure to chemical substances, but our ability to detect hazardous substances (or their metabolites and health effects) often exceeds our understanding of their biological relevance. There are only a few established frameworks for developing and using occupational and environmental biological guidance values (BGVs), mostly for data-rich substances that have been in use for some time. BGVs for new substances and those with unknown dose-response relationships are difficult to derive. An accepted framework based on current scientific knowledge and best practice is therefore urgently needed to help scientists, regulators, and stakeholders to design appropriate HBM studies, interpret HBM data (both for groups and individuals) understand the limitations and to take appropriate action when required. The development and application of such a tool is described here. We derived a conceptual framework that was refined by consultation with an advisory group and workshop. The resulting framework comprised four levels defined by increasing data, with increasing confidence for human health risk assessment. Available data were used for 12 chemicals with expert judgement to illustrate the utility of the framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the support of CEFIC in funding this study (LRI-HBM1-UCRA-0712) and Dr. Peter Boogaard for acting as Project Officer. Thanks to Dr. Silvia Fustinoni for her input on the chemical Methyl tert -butylether, the advisory board for their constructive comments to the project team during framework development and to workshop participants for their input to the final framework.


  • Biological guidance values
  • Biological monitoring
  • Biomonitoring
  • Chemicals
  • Environmental exposure
  • Exposure assessment
  • Framework
  • Interpretation
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk communication


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