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Your Environment. Your Health.

Boston Consensus Conference on Biomonitoring

Superfund Research Program

Fourteen residents from Boston and surrounding communities spent six weeks becoming educated about the scientific, legal and ethical issues of biomonitoring. They released a report to guide policy makers about measuring human exposure to environmental chemicals. The report is the culmination of the first-ever Boston Consensus Conference on Biomonitoring, organized by the Boston University School of Public Health and funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Superfund Research Program.

Lay panel

Members of the panel came to consensus on many of the difficult problems that biomonitoring presents, identifying and agreeing on five priority areas of concern that warrant further exploration and consideration as the use of human biomonitoring expands: establishing responsible surveillance programs; using biomonitoring data to influence corporate and government behavior; educating the general public about biomonitoring; addressing issues of ethics, confidentiality and disclosure; and public policy. The conference drew together a diverse group of lay people from Boston neighborhoods and nearby cities and towns. A truck driver, a teacher's aide, a financial analyst and a youth-detention worker are among the community members who participated to gather informed public opinion about how the public and private sectors should use and regulate the monitoring of chemicals in the body.

Results have been shared with public health policy makers and scientists around the country who conduct biomonitoring studies or deal with the issue in their work. The information has also been made available to advocacy groups, public health agencies and organizations, industry trade groups and others who are concerned with related policy. Members of the steering committee included Lois Adams, Chief of Pesticides, Toxics, and Urban Programs, EPA Region 1; and Howard Frumkin, Director, National Center for Environmental Health / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

For more information visit The Boston Consensus Conference on Biomonitoring website.

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