The Right Track: Monitoring the Chemicals in Our Bodies Can Improve Public Health

Fact Sheet
August 17, 2018

Many of the chemicals we are exposed to can cause adverse health effects such as birth defects, learning problems, obesity, cancer, and asthma. Biomonitoring is the process of collecting, processing, and analyzing samples of blood, urine, and/or saliva to test for the presence of chemicals in our bodies. These measurements contribute vital information on how chemical exposures affect our health. This information can also help us lower harmful chemical exposures and evaluate the effectiveness of public health efforts.

This fact sheet includes four case studies that show how biomonitoring has helped to identify local health threats, produce community-based research, and inform public health policies. We also highlight how state biomonitoring programs can help address state-specific environmental health concerns. These state-level programs, however, need ongoing support from both federal and state governments.