Jackson Calls for Biomonitoring Program
A statewide biomonitoring program is needed to track residents' exposure to various chemicals, Public Health Officer Richard Jackson said last week at a workshop on human exposure to chemicals, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Under such a program, California residents would be tested for potentially toxic chemicals found in flame retardants, pesticides, plastic additives and other common products (Fischer, Oakland Tribune, 6/20).
A bill (SB 600) sponsored by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) would establish such a system to test for potentially toxic chemicals in breastmilk, urine and blood samples of volunteers. The bill would establish a 16-member advisory panel to make recommendations based on the program's findings (California Healthline, 6/1).
Currently, public health officials have no way of monitoring the potential health effects of chemical exposure because there is no data available on the levels of chemicals present in the population, Jackson said. Without such data, officials have no basis for comparison to track increases in exposure, he said.
According to the Tribune, some participants at the workshop, which was organized by the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, "questioned the need for biomonitoring data" and raised concerns about the "substantial gaps in the ability of scientists and regulators to interpret the numbers" (Oakland Tribune, 6/20).