Two central challenges in the field of occupational and environmental epidemiology include accurately measuring biologic responses to exposure and preventing subsequent disease. As exposure-related lung diseases continue to be identified, advances in exposure biology have introduced toxicogenomic approaches that detect biomarkers of exposure at the gene, protein, and metabolite levels. Moreover, genetic epidemiology research has focused more recently on common, low-penetrant (ie, low-relative-risk) genetic variants that may interact with commonly encountered exposures. A number of such gene by environment interactions have been identified for airways and interstitial lung diseases, with the goal of preventing disease among susceptible populations that may not otherwise have been identified. Exhaled breath condensate analysis has provided another noninvasive means of assessing toxicant exposures and systemic effects. As these technologies become more refined, clinicians and public health practitioners will need to appreciate the social implications of the individual- and population-level risks conferred by certain genetic polymorphisms or by biomarker evidence of exposure. At present, the primary approach to occupational and environmental lung disease prevention remains elimination or reduction of known hazardous exposures and requires continued application of local and international resources toward exposure control.