Environmental Epidemiology and Human Health: Biomarkers of Disease and Genetic Susceptibility

P. B. Tchounwou, W. A. Toscano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


There is compelling evidence from epidemiological studies that environmental factors play a key role in human diseases. Many environmental agents have been linked to a wide range of adverse health outcomes in humans. These can include malignant neoplasms, neurobehavioral and mental disorders, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular impairments, gastrointestinal disorders, reproductive and developmental outcomes, other organ/tissue-specific effects or responses, and death in worse cases. Understanding the health risks associated with environmental exposures requires an understanding of human biology and a thorough assessment and understanding of how environmental agents affect biological systems at the molecular, cellular, and target organ levels. In recent years, biomarker evaluation has become a powerful tool in identifying biological changes and alterations that are indicative of abnormalities and diseases. Resultantly, several innovative laboratory and sensitive analytical technologies are now being deployed to detect and identify changes and alterations in chemical, physiological, and biochemical functions, in support of biomedical research. This article provides relevant information on environmental epidemiology and various types of biological markers, and discusses their importance with regard to genetic polymorphisms and cancer susceptibility in human populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Environmental Health
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780444522726
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Biomarker of effect
  • Biomarker of exposure
  • Biomarker of susceptibility
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Exposure-disease continuum
  • Genetic polymorphisms and cancer
  • Polymorphisms in phase I biotransformation
  • Polymorphisms in phase II biotransformation
  • Risk factors


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