Using Biomonitoring and Air Monitoring in a Study at Tulare County to Implement a New California Public Health Law on Exposure to Environmental Toxicants

Biomonitoring is the testing of human biospecimens, such as blood, urine, breast milk or fatty tissue, for the presence of toxic chemicals. By using biomonitoring and combining it with air monitoring, we can demonstrate the source of exposure and identify clear targets for where exposure should be reduced.

In this study, Tulare Count, Calif., residents monitored the air at homes situated near orange groves where the pesticide chlorpyrifos had been used. In addition to the air samples, urine samples from 34 participants were analyzed for chlorpyrifos metabolite.

The California Environmental Contaminants Biomonitoring Program—the first of its kind in the United States—will be implemented based on the results of this study. Unlike most biomonitoring studies reporting only summary data, this project (and the state’s program) offers individuals their test results. Project evaluation will analyze the effectiveness of results communication and community organizing in engaging residents in advocating for better health protections.