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We offer a wide range of biological monitoring for organic compounds including:



Although blood samples have been traditionally used for solvent exposure assessment, we (in line with HSE recommendations) prefer to offer non-invasive sampling where possible. Urine sampling is available for a number of solvents including benzene, dichloromethane, ethylbenzene, MEK (2-butanone), MIBK (4-methyl-2-pentanone), styrene, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene.  Where highlighted, there are GB guidance values available.

Where the solvent itself is measured in urine (or blood), there is the possibility of sample contamination so please ensure that workers remove overalls and wash their hands before providing samples.  Also ensure that the sample bottle is filled to the marked line to reduce evaporative losses in transit.

Benzene - HSE Science and Research Centre has undertaken a literature review for the Energy Institute.  We also have a case study on benzene exposure during tunnelling work.

Trichloroethylene - the European Commission has recently granted an authorisation for trichloroethylene, contingent on annual airborne monitoring and urine sampling.  Although there is no GB guidance value, there is an EU SCOEL guidance value to aid interpretation of results.

Toluene - We have replaced our o-cresol method for assessing toluene exposure with a new method measuring toluene in urine.  This is more specific than the o-cresol biomarker (which has raised background levels and can be confounded by exposure to o-cresol). We are confident that this new approach is more appropriate for assessing compliance with lower toluene exposures; there is an American guidance value to aid interpretation.

Where a number of solvents are used, a solvent screen may be more appropriate.  This is possible using the HSE-developed Bio-VOC breath sampler.


Organophosphorous (OP) pesticides are anticholinergic and health surveillance is recommended for workers using these pesticides on a regular basis, including measuring plasma and red blood cell cholinesterase activity. We also offer urine analysis for chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl.

Synthetic Pyrethroids are widely used in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.  We offer specific urine metabolite analysis for permethrin, cypermethrin and deltamethrin and a generic metabolite (3-phenoxybenzoic acid) for other synthetic pyrethroids.  These are available on a quarterly basis - see the price list for details.

Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides around the world. Recently there has been some debate about the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate ( IARCEFSA); these discussions are on-going.  In the meantime, We can now offer a straightforward urine test to evaluate workers' exposure to glyphosate and help to ensure that exposures are controlled. We have published a number of papers on exposures in amenity horticulture.  Glyphosate is available on a quarterly basis - see the price list for details.

NEW! Acetamiprid is a crop protection product belonging to the neonicotinoid class of pesticides. As a relatively new product, there is limited scientific knowledge available on exposures. We have developed a reliable method, able to quantify acetamiprid and its metabolite in urine at sufficiently low levels. Working with a number of clients, we have a dataset for optimum sampling time (relative to exposure) and we are beginning to build up data for typical levels arising from exposure scenarios. We have published a case study.

Other pesticides that we offer urine analysis for include captan, chlormequat, bendiocarb, dithiocarbamates, pirimicarb, dinoseb and penconazole.  These are available on a bespoke basis - see the price list for details.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are by-products of combustion.  There are a large number of compounds that are classified as PAHs; some, such as benzo(a)pyrene, are carcinogenic.  We have published research showing that pyrene is a good generic marker of PAH exposure and that urinary 1-hydroxypyrene is a suitable biomarker.  HSE has set a GB guidance value for 1-hydroxypyrene in urine (4 µmol/mol creatinine).

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