Measuring Analytes in Maternal Archived Samples (MAMAS)

Lab collaboration*

Analysis of persistent chemicals in blood collected from pregnant women during prenatal screening

Pregnant woman standing, hands holding her belly, in an outdoor setting

“Measuring Analytes in Maternal Archived Samples” (MAMAS) is a project designed to evaluate chemical exposures of pregnant women across the state.  For the MAMAS project, Biomonitoring California is analyzing a subset of blood samples collected as part of California’s Genetic Disease Screening Program (GDSP). 

GDSP screens blood samples from over 350,000 pregnant women each year through its Prenatal Screening Program, a statewide public health program that helps detect genetic defects in children before they are born. Some of the defects that can be detected are Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, and neural tube defects.

Chemicals currently being measured in MAMAS blood samples by our laboratories include perfluorochemicals [PFCs], flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs]), and other persistent organic pollutants (polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs] and organochlorine pesticides).

Samples used in MAMAS come from counties across California, selected to be approximately representative of the state’s overall population. In an initial pilot phase of the project, a set of 460 MAMAS samples collected by GDSP in Orange and San Diego Counties in 2012 were analyzed.  In the second phase of MAMAS, 540 samples collected by GDSP in four geographic regions of the state in 2015 will be analyzed.  Additional samples may be analyzed in future years.


* GDSP provides the blood samples for this project but is not involved in the laboratory or data analyses, which are conducted entirely by Biomonitoring California.

Project Type: 

Laboratory collaboration

Project Status: 



460 pregnant women in first phase; 540 pregnant women in second phase

Sample Collection Date: 

2012 to 2015

Sample Collection Area: 

Counties in California selected to approximate a statewide representative sample

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