Measuring Chemicals in Humans State Biomonitoring

Measuring Chemicals in Humans: State Biomonitoring Policies

By Scott Hendrick Vol . 18, No. 49 / November-December 2010 

General Information

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Biomonitoring measures chemicals in human blood, tissue and urine.

More than 90 percent of Americans over age 6 have detectable levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) in their bodies. In 5 percent of the U.S. population, cadmium levels are at or near that which studies suggest damages kidneys and decreases bone density. Most Americans have detectable levels in their bodies of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a fire retardant used in certain manufactured products, and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a byproduct of a polymer used in non-stick cookware. The percentage of U.S. children with elevated blood lead levels has declined, however, as has nicotine exposure among nonsmoking adults. These estimates, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, are possible due to biomonitoring—the scientific process of measuring chemicals or their metabolites in human blood, urine and tissue.


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