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California Establishes the Nation’s First Statewide Biomonitoring Program

October 4, 2006

On September 29, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1379 to establish the nation’s first statewide biomonitoring program. The program will measure the concentration of a variety of toxic chemicals in a cross-section of California residents by analyzing blood, tissue, and fluid samples taken from program participants. PSR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter was highly active in advocating for SB 1379’s passage.

In California and across the nation, many chronic illnesses and diseases appear to be on the rise. Biomonitoring is critical to understanding the degree to which our exposure to toxic chemicals and other environmental contaminants contribute to this increasing incidence of cancer, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, and other diseases and illnesses. In California, public health officials will soon have the data to begin identifying “hotspots” where residents are being disproportionately exposed to harmful levels of pollutants that heighten disease risk. California should be commended for yet another example of the state’s leadership in environmental and public health policy, and the new biomonitoring program should serve as a model to be implemented in states across the country.

For full text of the bill, click here. (pdf) 

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