Biomonitoring in Washington State

New Lab Methods Developed to Test Biomonitoring Samples

One of the main goals of the biomonitoring grant is to increase the ability of the Washington State Department of Health's Public Health Laboratories (PHL) to test biomonitoring samples.

The PHL upgraded lab instruments and sent staff to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn new procedures for testing biomonitoring samples according to CDC's methods. PHL staff developed laboratory methods to measure total and speciated arsenic, creatinine, a panel of twelve metals, and metabolites of pyrethroid and organophosphate metabolites in urine. PHL staff also developed methods to measure Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates in urine samples.

Arsenic is found naturally in seafood and some groundwater. Arsenic is also found in soils because of industrial activities or the use of certain pesticides.

Pyrethroid pesticides are used in agriculture and are popular residential insecticides. They are found in products that kill ants, fleas, spiders, cockroaches and other pests.

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that is widely used in agriculture to kill insects. It was banned for home use in the U.S. in 2001.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound used to make hard plastics and epoxy resin. BPA is commonly found in the lining of food and drink cans.

Phthalates are chemicals added to plastics to make them more flexible and durable. They are used in many consumer products, including toys, food packaging, building materials and perfumes.