Biomonitoring is a method of assessing human exposure to chemicals by measuring the chemicals and their metabolites, or break-down products in human tissues or specimens such as blood, urine, hair, or saliva. This information allows us to assess human exposures to environmental chemicals that have the potential to cause harm to New Mexico residents.
Biomonitoring data can be used to determine environmental exposure directly rather than relying on air or drinking water samples tests, for example. Further, biomonitoring data represent the total body burden of an individual’s exposure from multiple exposure pathways and/or sources, including dietary. In addition, these data account for interactions of multiple contaminants, risk factors, and other stressors. Therefore, by conducting biomonitoring, potential sources of excessive exposure can be identified, and relevant evidence-based public health actions or interventions may be implemented to reduce or prevent the potentially harmful exposure.
However, it is important to realize that the presence of a chemical in the body or urine specimen does not mean that the chemical causes a health risk or disease. Rather, the data help us understand the potential health implications of chemical exposure at a community- and/or state-level, and can help prevent and reduce excessive exposures and aid in disease prevention. Furthermore, providing exposure information, and exposure prevention resources to individuals may empower them to make their own decisions around living a healthy lifestyle.
Please visit our Biomonitoring Data page to learn more about current and past biomonitoring in New Mexico and the region.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- CDC Biomonitoring Program
- Mercury Spills, Clean Up, and Disposal