No complete list exists of those chemicals that have biomonitoring assays available for use in detecting their presence and concentration in human biospecimens. Biomonitoring is a relatively new tool for human exposure assessment, and new techniques are constantly under development. Current estimations are that about 600 chemicals can be tested for. Given that there are approximately industrial 75,000 chemicals registered for use by the US EPA, this is a very small number.
If you have identified a chemical or class of chemicals as candidates for biomonitoring, call one of the laboratories listed elsewhere on this website to see what assays might be available for use.
To give you a sense of what chemicals have been found in humans, listed below are the chemicals tested in two studies.
CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals provides an ongoing assessment of the U.S. population’s exposure to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring. Chemicals and their metabolites were measured in blood and urine samples from selected participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. NHANES is a series of surveys designed to collect data on the health and nutritional status of the US. population.
The CDC uses this data to determine reference ranges, or, that level of exposure considered average for an American citizen. (See their website for information about average exposures.) In most cases, a level considered “average” does not imply that this level is safe or unsafe. Safe levels for all but a few chemicals have not been determined.
The list of chemicals for the CDC third exposure data report, to be released in early 2005, includes all the chemicals studied in their 2001 and 2003 reports as well as a set of additional chemicals. Below is the cumulative list of chemicals considered in these reports.
Organophosphate Insecticides: Dialkyl Phosphate Metabolites
Organophosphate Insecticides: Specific Metabolites
Cis-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane carboxylic acid
Trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane carboxylic acid
Cis-3-(2,2-dibromovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane carboxylic acid
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
3-Hydroxybenzanthracene and 9-Hydroxybenzanthracene
Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-dioxins and Dibenzofurans
2,2′,5,5′-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 52)
2,3′,4,4′-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 66)
2,4,4′,5-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 74)
3,4,4′,5-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 81)
2,2′,3,4,5′-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 87)
2,2′,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 99)
2,2′,4,5,5′-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 101)
2,3,3′,4,4′-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 105)
2,3,3′,4′,6-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 110)
2,3′,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 118)
3,3′,4,4′,5-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126)
2,2′,3,3′,4,4′-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 128)
2,2′,3,4,4′,5′ and 2,3,3′,4,4′,6-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 138&158)
2,2′,3,4′,5,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 146)
2,2′,3,4′,5′,6′-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 149)
2,2′,3,5,5′,6-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 151)
2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 153)
2,3,3′,4,4′,5-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 156)
2,3,3′,4,4′,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 157)
2,3′,4,4′,5,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 167)
3,3′,4,4′,5,5′-Hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB 169)
2,2′,3,3′,4,4′,5-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 170)
2,2′,3,3′,4,5,5′-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 172)
2,2′,3,3′,4,5′,6′-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 177)
2,2′,3,3′,5,5′,6-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 178)
2,2′,3,4,4′,5,5′-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 180)
2,2′,3,4,4′,5′,6-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 183)
2,2′,3,4′,5,5′,6-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 187)
2,3,3′,4,4′,5,5′-Heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 189)
2,2′,3,3′,4,4′,5,5′-Octachlorobiphenyl (PCB 194)
2,2′,3,3′,4,4′,5,6-Octachlorobiphenyl (PCB 195)
2,2′,3,3′,4,4′,5,6′ and 2,2′,3,4,4′,5,5′,6-Octachlorobiphenyl (PCB196&203)
2,2′,3,3′,4,5,5′,6-Octachlorobiphenyl (PCB 201)
2,2′,3,3′,4,4′,5,5′,6′-Nonachlorobiphenyl (PCB 206)
The Environmental Working Group, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and Commonweal carried out a pilot biomonitoring study in 2001, testing a cohort of nine people for 210 chemicals. The list of chemicals and the levels of chemicals found is listed below. Working with staff scientists and others, the Environmental Working Group continues to design and implement biomonitoring studies for an even wider range of chemicals, including PBDEs. Checking their website periodically will give you information about current biomonitoring work being done, as well as an in-depth look at the pilot study, whose outcomes are listed below.