About the Program
CDC's Environmental Health Laboratory operates the National Biomonitoring Program (NBP). Throughout the world, biomonitoring has become the standard for assessing people's exposure to toxic substances as well as for responding to serious environmental public health problems. Rather than estimating how much of a substance gets into people from measured environmental concentrations, our scientists have taken out the guesswork by measuring levels of chemicals that actually are in people's bodies. And they do so with precision, speed, and pinpoint accuracy, measuring many chemicals in a very small amount—often a teaspoon or less—of blood or urine.
NBP currently measures more than 450 environmental chemicals and nutritional indicators in people. All of the methods used have been published in peer-reviewed journals so that other laboratories can use them. NBP also shares its methods with many state public health laboratories, and the program trains these laboratories in the use of these methods.
Each year, NBP works with many different groups, including state health departments, to provide exposure information for public health investigations or emergencies as well as for 60–70 exposure studies. Health officials need biomonitoring information to help them make the best decisions that will benefit the health of the American public. CDC scientists also collaborate with U.S. government agencies, state and local health departments, universities, community organizations, and international organizations on national studies of general population exposure and studies of specific exposed populations, such as children.
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