In September, 2006 Governor
Schwarzenegger signed into law the California Biomonitoring
Plan: a comprehensive program designed to test 10,000
representative Californians for a broad range of toxic
substances (Bill 1379, 2006).
California's human biomonitoring program follows a growing awareness, both nationally and internationally, that we know very little about how our bodies have been affected by our increasingly chemical-dependent society. Human biomonitoring has quickly become an important tool in the struggle to determine public health and create healthy bodies.
As citizen groups, agencies,
and legislative bodies push the creation of biomonitoring
programs, a strong ethical and socially just framework
for managing and analyzing biomonitoring programs has
not developed. In the absence of such a bioethical framework,
biomonitoring programs run the risk of unintentionally
hurting the very people they seek to help.
- What will we do if we discover
damaging toxics in our bodies?
- Who is liable to pay for potential
- How much say should everyday
people/non-scientists have in the testing of and use
of data from info their bodies?
- How can results be kept confidential?
How confidential is necessary?
- Does biomonitoring have the
potential to justify discrimination by health insurers?