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Biological Exposure Monitoring

What is Biological Exposure Monitoring?


Biological exposure monitoring (BEM) is a method used to assess the level of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. BEM involves measuring the amount of a chemical or its metabolites in a person’s blood, urine, or other biological sample. The results obtained from the monitoring then help with determining the efficacy of existing control measures.

This method provides an accurate and objective measure of an individual’s exposure to hazardous substances, allowing for the identification of potential health risks associated with exposure. BEM is commonly used in industries where workers may be exposed to harmful chemicals or substances and is especially useful if workers have to wear significant PPE/RPE as it can be used to assess how effective the PPE is. Additionally, BEM is particularly useful if dermal (skin) absorption is a significant route of entry.

The results of BEM can help employers and employees take steps to reduce exposure to hazardous substances, such as implementing engineering controls, providing personal protective equipment, or changing work practices. BEM can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of control measures and to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Overall, biological exposure monitoring is an important tool for protecting the health and safety of workers in industries where hazardous substances are present.


What can be monitored?

  • arsenic – urine (timber treatments)
  • antimony – urine (petrochemical plants)
  • aluminium – urine (welders, foundry workers)
  • cholinesterase – blood (organophosphate pesticides)
  • carbon monoxide – blood (diesel exhaust fumes)
  • cyanide – blood or urine (pesticides, timber treatments, fumigants, metal polishes)
  • nickel – urine (stainless steel welders & gas cutters)
  • chromium – urine sample (timber treatments, leather tanning, welders & stainless alloy workers)
  • xylene – urine (paints & resins)
  • lead – blood test (batteries, weighs & measures, arts, brass, paint removal, engine/muffler/radiator repair)
  • barium – urine (drilling mud)
  • cadmium – urine or blood (welding flux, batteries, welding/cutting of anticorrosion coated steel)
  • toluene – urine (paints & resins)
  • vanadium – urine (boiler maintenance, welding of steel alloys, printing)
  • INR – blood (brodifacoum pesticides)
  • cobalt – urine (saw doctor & knife sharpeners)
  • fluoride – urine (aluminium foundry)
  • manganese – blood (mild steel welding, battery production)
  • mercury – urine (dental industry)
  • methanol – urine (methanol production, resins)
  • methyl bromide – blood (fumigants)
  • methyl ethyl ketone MEK – urine (paints & resins)
  • selenium – urine (fertilisers & cattle feed)
  • styrene – urine (resins)
  • thallium – urine (rodenticide)
  • tin – urine (timber treatments)
  • zinc – blood (galvanising, brass & bronze, welding)


Contact us today and one of our Occupational Hygienists will be in touch to discuss how we can assist

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