Community Health - Biomonitoring Study
The Great Lakes are among the world’s most important freshwater resources. The region’s ecosystem is an invaluable environmental and economic resource. The lakes and the surrounding lands provide natural beauty and are vital to the lives of tens of millions of people.
A long history of careless practices contaminated the Great Lakes ecosystem with numerous chemicals and byproducts of modern life. For decades, the Lake Superior watershed has been impacted by commercial, municipal and industrial activities, resulting in chemical spills, abandoned hazardous waste sites, waste disposal and discharges, and contaminated surface runoff.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was established under the stewardship of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 to protect, restore and maintain the Great Lakes ecosystem. With support from the GLRI, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a Great Lakes Biomonitoring Program to fund projects to gather baseline data on environmental chemicals in people within the Great Lakes Basin.
In September 2010, ATSDR gave funds to state health agencies in Minnesota, Michigan, and New York to conduct biomonitoring. From January through November 1, 2013, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Fond du Lac Band (FDL) of Lake Superior Chippewa collected blood and urine from 491 participants in the Fond du Lac Community Biomonitoring Study.
Biomonitoring is a tool that can be used to better understand exposures to environmental chemicals. It involves directly measuring the types and amount of substances in a persons body at one point in time.
The study was designed to identify the following for a select number of environmental chemicals:
- the amount of each chemical in participants’ blood or urine;
- how the amounts found in participants compare to results from other studies;
- whether any groups, such as women or elders, have greater amounts of study chemicals in their bodies; and
- how study participants may have contacted the chemicals.
For more background information about the FDL Community Biomonitoring Study, please visit MDH’s website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/risk/studies/tribalstudy.html
For any questions about the study and available results, please call Nate Sandman at 218-878-2104.