California's Biomonitoring Program
History of the Biomonitoring Program
In 2001, the California
Department of Health Services (CDHS) received a grant
from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to develop
a plan for a state-based, human biomonitoring program.
In 2003, after completing the plan, the CDHS applied
for an additional grant from the CDC to fund the proposed
program. The CDHS did not receive the grant, and, along
with interested citizens, began to push the California
state legislature to fund the comprehensive biomonitoring
program (Califonia Biomonitoring..., 2006). Governor
Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1379 into law in September
of 2006. Though the new law does not dictate many of
the specifics of how biomonitoring will be carried out,
it did create the California Environmental Contaminant
Biomonitoring Program (CECBP) and established governing
bodies to implement the program.
Who Will Oversee the Program
The CECBP will be housed under the California Department of Health Services. It will, however, be jointly operated by both the CDHS and the California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA). A scientific guidance panel of nine members will be established to:
- provide peer review,
- design the program,
- choose which chemicals will be monitored, and
- implement the program.
The Governor will appoint
five members, the Senate Committee on Rules will appoint
two members, and the Speaker of the Assembly will appoint
two members. The Office of the President of the University
of California will give recommendations for appointees.
All members will serve rotating three-year terms (Bill
What the Bill Says
The California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program implements a comprehensive program to test 10,000 Californians for the presence of a currently undetermined number of substances. The biomonitoring will take place on a strictly confidential and voluntary basis. Individuals who are tested will have access to their own results. Additionally, the CECBP is charged with providing counseling should results indicate a significant health risk.
The program also aims to utilize the principles of the California Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Justice Strategy and Environmental Justice Action Plan. These principles affirm that the work of the CECBP will,
Promote equity and afford fair treatment, accessibility, and protection for all Californians, regardless of race, age, culture, income, or geographic location. (p 6, Senate Bill 1379)
Department of Health Services, Biomonitoring Program
Image 12. Pollution on the San Gabriel