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The Canadian Health Measures Survey and Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada

April 2013

Harper Government Releases Second Set of Biomonitoring Data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey

Chemical substances are everywhere - in air, soil, water, products, and food - and can enter the body through eating, breathing, and skin contact. The Government of Canada uses a variety of methods, tools, and models to assess people's exposure to both natural and synthetic chemicals. Human exposure to chemicals can be estimated indirectly by measuring chemicals in the environment, food, or products, or directly from body tissues such as blood and urine (also known as biomonitoring).

What is Human Biomonitoring?

Human biomonitoring is the measurement of a chemical, or the products it makes when it breaks down, in the body. These measurements are usually taken in blood and urine and sometimes in other tissues and fluids, such as hair, nails and breast milk. The measurements indicate the amount of a chemical that is present in a person at a given time.

Biomonitoring and the Canadian Health Measures Survey

The Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), led by Statistics Canada in partnership with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, is the most comprehensive, direct health measures survey conducted in Canada. The survey is designed to represent the Canadian population. The CHMS includes a biomonitoring component, in which blood and urine samples are collected to provide information on people's exposure to environmental chemicals. The CHMS also collects information on the general health and lifestyles of Canadians.

The Second Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada

The Second Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada provides the results of the biomonitoring component from the second cycle of the CHMS (2009-2011). It reports data for 91 chemicals and for the first time includes a three- to five- year-old age group. It follows the release of the Cycle 1 (2007-2009) results in 2010. The primary purpose of the Report is to provide chemical exposure information, based on human biomonitoring, to scientists, health professionals, and policy makers. This information will help with the evaluation of chemical exposure and the development of policies to protect the health of Canadians.

Data for chemicals measured in both cycles will be used as a starting point to track trends of levels in Canadians over time and to assess the effectiveness of regulatory and health risk management actions.

Additional Information

To access the Second Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada, please visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/chms-ecms-cycle2/index-eng.php

For a complete overview of the Second Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canadavisit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/chms-ecms-cycle2/overview-vue-eng.php

To review the first Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada, please visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/contaminants/chms-ecms/index-eng.php.

For more information on the Next link will take you to another Web site Canadian Health Measures Survey, please visit: www.statcan.gc.ca/survey-enquete/household-menages/5071-eng.htm