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What is Human Biomonitoring?

Biomonitoring in the US and Responses

Bioethical Controversies

California's Biomonitoring Program

California Controversies

Future of Biomonitoring

Links and Resources

Comments and Questions to:



Human Biomonitoring

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.

Bioethical Controversies

  • What will we do if we discover damaging toxics in our bodies?
  • Who is liable to pay for potential remediation?
  • 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?




Image 1. Danger sign.

Last updated:  May, 2007


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