Biomonitoring in Washington State

Survey of Residents of Subsidized Housing in King County

The goal of this project is to learn:

  • How diet, cooking food in plastic, and the use of beauty and skin care products and pesticides affect the amount of chemicals that get into the body.
  • If people living in subsidized housing have more of these chemicals in their bodies compared to other people in our state or around the country.
  • How to reduce these chemicals in people.

Health studies show that these chemicals can be harmful to people, especially in early life. We plan to use the findings from this survey to help reduce these chemicals in people.


From May 2013 through April 2014 WA State Department of Health recruited 585 people living in Renton and Seattle Housing Authority communities. Women and girls ages 6–44 and men and boys ages 6–19 participated in the survey.


We want to learn about exposures to these chemicals:

  • Pesticides - We are measuring two types of pesticides; pyrethroid pesticides and chlorpyrifos. Pyrethroid pesticides are used to kill ants, fleas, spiders, cockroaches and other pests. Chlorpyrifos is used in agriculture to kill insects.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) - BPA is used in some hard plastics, such as older baby bottles and water bottles, and in the lining of food cans.
  • Phthalates - Phthalates are used to make soft, flexible plastics, vinyl products, and food packaging materials. They are found in some beauty and skin care products such as shampoos, lotions and makeup.

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