NH DHHS - New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories Receive Biomonitoring Grant from CDC

Concord, NH - New Hampshire is one of six states recently awarded a

Biomonitoring grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC). The award, which is funded for 5 years, provides $

815,909 in year one to establish and expand biomonitoring capacity in the

state public health laboratory, as part of an on-going effort by CDC.

Biomonitoring is the direct measurement of environmental chemicals in

people’s blood and urine, indicating the amount of chemical that actually

enters the body from all environmental sources.

The CDC State Biomonitoring Cooperative Agreement serves to increase the

capability and capacity of states to conduct biomonitoring and surveillance

to assess human exposure to environmental chemicals. Biomonitoring provides

human exposure data that can assist in making important public health

decisions. Better exposure information helps identify at-risk population

groups and assess the effectiveness of interventions.

“This is a great opportunity for the Public Health Laboratories to help

determine if New Hampshire residents are being exposed to selected

contaminants in the environment and work with partners toward plans for

alleviating these pathways in the future,” said Dr. Christine Bean,

Director of the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NH PHL). “I am

proud of the work the laboratorians do here every day and that we were one

of only six states to receive this grant.”

NH PHL will use the funding to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies,

hire and train toxicologists and epidemiologists, and conduct both targeted

and surveillance investigations. Toxicologists will conduct the laboratory

analysis and epidemiologists will work to determine exposure risks of New

Hampshire residents. CDC program staff will provide technical support and

training for the state program.

The NH PHL will begin working on an arsenic and uranium project analyzing

urine and water samples from individuals reliant on private bedrock wells

for drinking water. Residents of selected high-risk communities, as

determined by local geology, will be invited to participate in this

important public health study. Arsenic speciation, which is used to

identify which form of arsenic is present, will be conducted on urine

specimens with elevated total arsenic.

In future years of the project, the PHL will initiate a state-wide

Surveillance Biomonitoring effort, testing blood and urine for chemicals of

concern in New Hampshire. The data from these analyses will be useful in

determining state-specific background levels of contaminants, identifying

emerging concerns, prioritizing resources, and evaluating public health

interventions. Biomonitoring data from New Hampshire will help inform the

Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services

in implementation of multiple priority areas in the New Hampshire State

Health Improvement Plan,