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About the Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study

Learn about our state's biomonitoring study.
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What is the Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study?

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is conducting a study called Biomonitoring Massachusetts. Biomonitoring is a way to measure environmental chemicals in your body. Environmental chemicals can enter your body through the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat. We are enrolling Massachusetts residents in the study and testing their blood and urine for chemicals such as lead and mercury. Participants learn about their results and what they may mean for their health.

If necessary, the study team can provide potential ways to reduce exposure to the environmental chemicals we are measuring. Together, all participant results help DPH target public health efforts to communities that need them the most. All results are confidential and are not shared with anyone unless the participant chooses to do so.

Why should I participate?

Testing is free and easy. Biomonitoring is not typically offered at medical visits. Participants learn about the chemicals measured in their body. They can compare their results to others’ results across the country. Participants learn about what the results mean for their health and about ways to reduce exposure to certain chemicals, if necessary. Results help DPH decide if new policies are needed to protect the public’s health.

You can contact the study using the information on this page to join the study.  You will receive a welcome package in the mail. Once enough people in your area have enrolled, the study team will call you to see if you are able to come to a sampling event in your area.  If you are able to make an appointment, the team will send you an appointment letter with the date, time, and location of your appointment. Whenever possible, the study team will travel to a location that is convenient for you. It is likely that we will travel to a location near you many times.

You only have to attend one appointment to take part in the study. Your appointment will likely take less than an hour. At your appointment, the study team will review consent forms and answer any questions you may have.

You will complete a questionnaire on topics such as your health, hobbies, and diet.  The study team will also collect a blood sample and a urine sample.   A certified phlebotomist (someone trained in drawing blood) will collect your blood sample. He or she will make the process as comfortable as possible.  You can provide only a urine sample or a blood sample if you wish.

How do I receive my results?

The DPH Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, Analytical Chemistry Division analyzes your sample(s).  The study team at the DPH Bureau of Environmental Health, Environmental Toxicology Program mails you personalized results about 6 months after the appointment. You are encouraged to contact the Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study team with questions about your results. DPH will use combined results from participants across the state for public health reports. DPH will not release any of your personal information in the reports. Your results are confidential. They will not be shared with your doctor, or anyone else, unless you choose to share them.

More info

Protection of human participants in the Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study has been reviewed and approved by the DPH Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Commissioner of Public Health pursuant to M.G.L. c.111, § 24A.

For additional information about IRB protections, contact Candace Nelson, Sc.D., at the DPH IRB by calling (617) 624-5621 and reference IRB# 802071.

For additional information about the Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study (MDPH IRB# 802071), contact Marc A. Nascarella, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, at (617) 624-5757 or

Resources to measure chemical exposure in biological samples at the State Public Health Laboratory have been made available through a State-Based Biomonitoring Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Number 5 U88 EH 001144).



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