Bill Would Measure Chemicals in Body
Some critics are saying that a bill (SB 1379) calling for the establishment of a statewide biomonitoring program to study levels of chemicals in blood, urine, fatty tissue or breast milk would cause unnecessary health concerns by identifying contamination without providing information about what levels are dangerous or whether the chemicals are causing illnesses, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The legislation, by Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland), would create the monitoring program to be run by the state's Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Health Services. A 16-member advisory board panel also would be involved with the program.
Testing would be voluntary, and volunteers' identities would not be disclosed publicly.
The program would cost an estimated $2.5 million to $4 million annually. CDC has said it would make a $1.7 million one-time, in-kind contribution to the program if it is approved.
The bill passed the Senate Health Committee last month, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed similar legislation last year because he said it offered only a "partial snapshot" that did not fully address the interaction of environment, genetics and behavior.
Schwarzenegger has said his administration would develop an alternative program to provide "useful data for researchers," but no such plan has been announced.
According to Tim Shestek, a spokesperson for the American Chemical Council, chemical manufacturers who oppose the bill could support a program that is apolitical, peer reviewed and scientific (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 4/17).