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There are two types of biomonitoring, aquatic and analytical. Aquatic biomonitoring is a method used to determine the ecological health of rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. Scientists study the health, population, and diversity of organisms that live in a body of water to assess the waters health.

In analytical chemistry, biomonitoring is the measurement of toxic chemicals, elements, and their metabolites, found in the body.

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ROUTES OF EXPOSURE

ROUTES OF EXPOSURE

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

ROUTES OF EXPOSURE

A person can come into contact with hazardous substances like pesticides, insecticides or herbicides along three primary exposure pathways: through breathing (inhalation); through contact with the skin, or through ingestion (eating contaminated food. Biomonitoring tools allow scientists to measure and analyze a person’s blood, tissue, or urine to assess their degree of exposure to these hazardous substances at their point of contact.

TOTAL ION CHROMATOGRAM
Shows the retention time and intensity of chemicals found in each sample. These include biomarkers of exposure to organophosphate pesticides (chlorpyrifos, malathion, parathion, diazinon), an insecticide (carbaryl), an herbicide (2,4-D), a fungicide (mancozeb), and pyrethroid insecticides (permethrin, cypermethrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin).

CARIN TESTS THE URINE OF MINNESOTA CHILDREN LIVING IN TWO RURAL FARMING COMMUNITIES TO SEE IF MORE STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO PROTECT THEM FROM EXPOSURE TO PESTICIDES, HERBICIDES AND INSECTICIDES.

The Minnesota Biomonitoring Strategic Plan tracks exposures to chemicals in vulnerable Minnesota populations with a focus on pregnant women, children, and disadvantaged communities. The data it collects may lead to policy decisions that could possibly protect future generations. ”Being able to measure somebody's blood or urine sample … what was in someone’s body, is very powerful,” Carin says. “It really offers a good connection to people.”

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