Biomonitoring is a technique used to measure environmental chemicals or their breakdown products in the human body.  Biological specimens such as blood and urine are tested to see if certain chemicals are present and at what levels.  An example of biomonitoring is the widespread testing of children’s blood to ensure they do not have high levels of lead.

We are currently enrolling Massachusetts residents into the Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study.  We will be collecting urine and blood samples from participants and testing them for environmental chemicals.  In addition to providing samples, participants will also be asked a series of questions about their everyday activities and overall health.  Participants will then receive personalized results detailing the levels of certain chemicals in their bodies.

The type of testing being offered is not typically conducted at routine medical visits.  With the personalized results, participants will:

  • Learn the levels of tested chemicals measured in their body and how the results compare to others’ in the U.S.
  • Learn what the results mean for your health.
  • Learn ways to reduce exposure to these chemicals, if necessary.

Your results will also help MDPH evaluate statewide patterns of exposure to environmental chemicals and help determine if new policies are needed to protect the public’s health from any of these chemicals.

Participating in the Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study

Criteria for Participation

Currently, we are enrolling participants that live in Massachusetts and are:

  • Male or female and older than 18 years old, OR
  • Female, and between the ages of 15 and 49 years old, OR
  • Children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old.

At this time, Biomonitoring Massachusetts is unable to offer services to:

  • Individuals with hemophilia
  • Individuals undergoing chelation therapy
  • Individuals undergoing chemotherapy treatment

What to Expect

If you are eligible for enrollment, we will send you information about the study and schedule your appointment for sample collection.  Whenever possible, the staff will arrange for the sample collection and questionnaire to occur during a single, hour-long appointment at a location near you.

On the day of your appointment, the staff will obtain your written consent and answer any questions you may have.  Next, you will provide a urine sample and a certified phlebotomist will collect a blood sample.  The amount of blood drawn is about the same as the amount taken during an annual physical exam.  We will also administer a questionnaire about your hobbies, diet, and other information.

After your appointment, you will receive material in the mail explaining the timeline for the delivery of your laboratory results.  Within months, you will receive your personalized results in the mail.

The Questionnaire

At your appointment, MDPH staff will ask you some questions.  All questionnaire responses are confidential.  The questionnaire will address topics such as:

  • Your hobbies
  • Your occupation
  • Your diet
  • Your health

Contact Us

For more information please contact:

Environmental Toxicology Program
MDPH Bureau of Environmental Health
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington Street, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617-624-5757 | Fax: 617-624-5777 | TTY: 617-624-5286

This information is provided by the Environmental Toxicology Program within the Department of Public Health.