Why is Biomonitoring Important?
When we hear about an environmental disaster—like lead in Flint, Michigan, drinking water—we want to spring into action to protect ourselves, our communities, and the most vulnerable among us.
The fact is that we are all exposed to thousands of chemicals every day. Some are essential to life, some are harmful to people and the environment, and others we know nothing about. New chemicals are constantly being created and put into products that appear on store shelves. Some find their way into our environment and our bodies without having been tested for possible effects on health. Even newborn babies come into this world having already been exposed to toxic chemicals in the womb.
This is why measuring the chemicals in our bodies—or “biomonitoring”—is so important. By conducting biomonitoring across the state and over time, we can begin to understand our exposures to chemicals—and how the places we live and work, and the choices we make, such as what we eat, affect our body burden.
Biomonitoring California is bringing biomonitoring studies to diverse communities throughout the state. These studies help answer questions like: Is my family being exposed to toxic chemicals through our drinking water? Does eating a certain diet expose us to high levels of mercury? Do the choices I make at the store affect the levels of flame retardants in my family’s bodies?
By regularly measuring chemicals in Californians across the state, we can find the people and places that are more heavily impacted by chemical pollution, and track how the chemicals we are exposed to change over time. Our studies support communities and individuals in taking action to reduce chemical exposures and promoting a healthier environment for everyone.