Learn about biomonitoring

Biomonitoring is the measurement of environmental chemicals in the body.

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Great Blue Hill

Great Blue Hill


Environmental chemicals are in the air, water, food, soil, and some products you may buy.  Everyone is exposed (comes into contact with) environmental chemicals every day.  Because you are exposed to environmental chemicals all the time, it is normal for them to be in your body.

Biomonitoring is a way to measure different environmental chemicals in your body.  This can be done by testing blood and urine. Biomonitoring helps us address community concerns about exposure to environmental chemicals and the potential health effects for people who may be exposed. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) can provide biomonitoring services to residents across the state.

DPH is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to understand human exposure to environmental chemicals. We are focusing on exposure to chemicals like lead, mercury, and others.

The Biomonitoring Massachusetts Study is led by a team of highly skilled scientists in the Analytical Chemistry Division at the State Public Health Laboratory and the Environmental Toxicology Program in the Bureau of Climate and Environmental Health.

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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.

Resources to measure chemical exposure in biological samples at the State Public Health Laboratory were 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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Image credits:  George Headley

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