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Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services

VIRGINIA BIOMONITORING PROGRAM

Biomonitoring is the study of human exposure to natural and non-natural (synthetic) chemicals through the testing of a person's bodily fluids (urine, blood, saliva, etc.) and/or tissues. The Virginia Biomonitoring Program was established in 2014 through funding and support awarded to DCLS from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

DCLS' goal for the biomonitoring program is to proactively test human samples collected from citizens throughout the Commonwealth for a variety of different chemicals. We want to know if these chemicals can be detected in the urine or blood of normal people and, if so, are there things that these people have in common that might suggest how these chemical came in contact with their bodies?

Some examples of chemicals that DCLS will target with our laboratory testing include:

  • Cyanide
  • Lead
  • Uranium
  • Cadmium
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

DCLS scientists are collecting urine and/or blood samples from volunteers throughout Virginia and using laboratory test methods to identify and quantify the presence of these chemicals in order to determine the background ("normal") levels of selected chemicals in the population. This testing also may help in identifying areas in Virginia or populations which may have elevated levels of these chemicals and may pinpoint areas of concern for chemical exposure that may require public health follow up.

By evaluating the presence of natural and synthetic chemicals in the population, potential chemical hazards can be identified, investigated and possibly eliminated in order to keep our communities safe. Ultimately, this laboratory data could be used to investigate sources of exposure to chemicals and to develop strategies to reduce the risks associated with these exposures. Virginia's data will be shared with other laboratories conducting similar studies throughout the nation so that we can gain an even broader understanding of the impact of chemical exposures in our communities.