Biomonitoring is the direct measurement of people's exposure to toxic substances by measuring the substances or their metabolites in human specimens, such as blood or urine. Biomonitoring measurements provide health-relevant assessments of exposure because they indicate the combined amount of the chemical that actually gets into people from all environmental sources (for example, air, soil, water, dust, food). Biomonitoring efforts help individuals determine the types of environmental chemicals that people have been exposed to, the amount of those chemicals that actually gets into their bodies, and the concentrations of chemicals in their bodies that may be related to adverse health effects. Water-related biomonitoring data and statistics are highlighted below.
CDC Biomonitoring Programs or Databases
National Biomonitoring Program (NBP)
NBP collects national biomonitoring data on the US population and publishes the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
NHANES is a survey designed to collect information about the health and diet of people in the United States. NHANES is unique in that it combines a home interview with health tests and specimen collection (for example, urine, blood).
National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals
CDC's National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals provides an ongoing assessment of the U.S. population's exposure to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring. Fourth Report 2009 [PDF - 530 pages] summarizes CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) biomonitoring data from 1999-2004. It also presents first-time exposure information for 75 of the 212 chemicals included in the report. The data are analyzed separately by age, sex and race/ethnicity groups.
- Alwis KU, Blount BC, Silva LK, Smith MM, Loose KH. Method for quantifying nitromethane in blood as a potential biomarker of halonitromethane exposure. Environ Sci Technol. 2008;42(7):2522-7.
- Sanchez CA, Barraj LM, Blount BC, Scrafford CG, Valentin-Blasini L, Smith KM, Krieger RI. Perchlorate exposure from food crops produced in the lower Colorado River region. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2009;19(4):359-68.
- Backer LC, Lan Q, Blount BC, Nuckols JR, Branch R, Lyu CW, Kieszak SM, Brinkman MC, Gordon SM, FlandersWD, Romkes M, Cantor KP. Exogenous and endogenous determinants of blood trihalomethane levels after showering. Environ Health Perspect. 2008;116:57-63.
- Leavens TL, Blount BC, DeMarini DM, Madden MC, Valentine JL, Case MW, Silva LK, Warren SH, Hanley NM, Pegram RA. Disposition of Bromodichloromethane in Humans Following Oral and Dermal Exposure. Toxicol Sci. 2007;99(2):432-45.
- Lantagne DS, Blount BC, Cardinali F, Quick R. Disinfection by-product formation and mitigation strategies in point-of-use chlorination of turbid and non-turbid waters in Western Kenya. J Water Health. 2008;6(1):67-82.
- Bowen AB, Kile JC, Otto C, Kazerouni N, Austin C, Blount BC, Wong HN, Beach MJ, Fry AM. Outbreaks of short-incubation ocular and respiratory illness following exposure to indoor swimming pools. Environ Health Perspect. 2007;115(2):267–71.
- Silva LK, Bonin MA, McKague B, Blount BC. Quantification of dichloroiodomethane and bromochloroiodomethane in human blood by solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography/isotope dilution high resolution mass spectrometry. J Anal Toxicol. 2006;30(9):670-8.
- Bonin MA, Silva LK, Smith MM, Ashley DL, Blount BC. Measurement of trihalomethanes and methyl tert-butyl ether in whole blood using gas chromatography with high-resolution mass spectrometry. J Anal Toxicol. 2005;29(2):81-9.
- Gordon SM, Brinkman MC, Ashley DL, Blount BC, Lyu C, Masters J, Singer PC. Changes in breath trihalomethane levels resulting from household water use activities. Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114(4):514–21.
- Tan YM, Liao KH, Conolly RB, Blount BC, Mason AM, Clewell HJ. Use of a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model to identify exposures consistent with human biomonitoring data for chloroform. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2006;69(18):1727-56.
- Ashley DL, Blount BC, Singer PC, DePaz E, Wilkes C, Lyu C, Masters J. Changes in blood trihalomethane concentrations resulting from differences in water quality and water use activities. Arch Environ Occup Health. 2005;60(1):7-15.
- Cardinali FL, Ashley DL, Morrow JC, Moll DM, Blount BC. Measurement of trihalomethanes and methyl tertiary-butyl ether in tap water using solid-phase microextraction GC-MS. J Chromatogr Sci. 2004;42(4):200-6.
- Prah J, Ashley D, Blount B, Case M, Leavens T, Pleil J, Cardinali F. Dermal, oral, and inhalation pharmacokinetics of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in human volunteers.Toxicol Sci. 2004;77(2):195-205.
- Selenic D, Alvarado-Ramy F, Arduino M, Holt S, Cardinali F, Blount B, Jarrett J, Smith F, Altman N, Stahl C, Panlilio A, Pearson M, Tokars J. Epidemic parenteral exposure to volatile sulfur-containing compounds at a hemodialysis center. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2004;25(3):256-61.
- Vallejo L, Backer L, Werner M, Silva L, Cardinali F, Ashley D, Blount B. Human exposure assessment of low levels of MTBE in drinking water. Proceedings of the National Ground Water Association conference on MTBE. 2003;5–9.
- Prah JD, Blount BC, Cardinali FL, Ashley DL, Leavens T, Case MW. The development and testing of a dermal exposure system for pharmacokinetic studies of administered and ambient water contaminants. J Pharmacol Toxicol. 2002;47:189–95.
- Page last reviewed: October 4, 2016
- Page last updated: October 4, 2016
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