Conceptual basis for the application of biomonitoring on river water quality evaluation programs

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Journal: Cad Saude Publica 2003/05/24
Published: 2003
Authors: Buss, D. F.;Baptista, D. F.;Nessimian, J. L.
Address: Laboratorio de Avaliacao e Promocao da Saude Ambiental, Departamento de Biologia, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 21045-900, Brasil. buss@centroin.com.br

Biomonitoring is defined as the systematic use of biological responses to assess environmental changes, usually anthropogenic impacts. In this article we present the conceptual basis and a brief history of biomonitoring as an assessment tool for environmental health. Considering the drawbacks of physical and chemical parameters to assess environmental quality, we pinpoint the need to integrate these analyses with information provided by biological monitoring. The application of biomonitoring in Brazil would help watershed managers and policy-makers to reduce costs, increase the efficiency of analyses, and simplify the results, allowing community participation through volunteer monitoring programs.

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