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2019 New Hampshire Tracking and Assessment of Chemical Exposures (TrACE) Study

ATTENTION: Enrollment for the 2019 TrACE Study has been closed. A summary report of the study findings will be available after participants have received their clinical reports and water reports and after data analysis is complete.

We come in contact with chemicals every day. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the objects that surround us. The question is—How much of those chemicals is actually getting inside our bodies? Are those chemicals causing disease or are they not harmful to us?

What is the 2019 NH TrACE Study?
The 2019 NH Tracking and Assessment of Chemical Exposures (TrACE) Study is a statewide public health surveillance study looking at many different metals, pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and other chemicals such as tobacco smoke in NH residents. These are chemicals you may come into contact with from your environment and we want to know whether those chemicals are getting into your body. BiomonitoringNH will do this by testing blood and urine from 400 NH residents (6 years and older) as well as by testing the water from their homes.

BiomonitoringNH is working with the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and the NH Environmental Public Health Tracking Program to collect and test household water.

What is the purpose of this study?
There are several reasons for conducting the 2019 NH TrACE Study. The first is to find out how much of certain chemicals are getting into NH residents. Participants in this study are randomly selected, which means that as a group, they will reflect the demographics (i.e., age, sex, race, etc.) of the NH population as a whole for residents 6 years and older. This means that the data collected in this study is representative of NH residents aged 6 years and older. This data is important because we can compare these levels to those found in people or groups of people exposed to these chemicals in the future.

Another reason for collecting this data is to be able to see trends of these chemicals in NH residents over time. BiomonitoringNH will do this testing every few years (as long as the program is funded), which will allow us to see if levels of these chemicals in NH residents are changing. Collecting this data repeatedly over a long period of time will also help us to better understand how chemicals affect the body and influence health.

Finally, the results of this study may help inform policy recommendations and better prioritize the use of limited public health funding. This data may also aid in better intervention recommendations (like treatment or removing products from our homes or work) so we can better protect you, your family, and your community’s health.

How will this study be conducted?
New Hampshire residents are randomly selected and invited to participate. They will complete a 20-30 minute online survey that asks questions about how they may come into contact with chemicals from the environment, such as through their job, recreational activities, and food/beverage consumption. The survey also asks about their demographics (age, sex, race, etc.) and some health questions. Any information shared with us will remain confidential at all times. Participants will then provide blood and urine samples by visiting one of the Participating Medical Facilities Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol. Lastly, a staff member from the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) will collect a set of water samples from each participating household.

Each participant will receive a $25 Walmart gift card after fully participating in the study. This is BiomonitoringNH’s way of thanking them for their participation and commitment to the study. Additionally, participants will also receive free water testing for their home. This includes water quality testing recommended by the State of New Hampshire (bacteria, metals, and other water quality indicators like hardness and pH) among other tests like radon and volatile organic compounds, such as MtBE. Participants will also be referred to someone who can help with interpreting their water and/or clinical (blood and urine) results, should they need it.

Enrollment, Participation, and Expectations
People across New Hampshire will be randomly selected and asked if they would like to learn more about a project looking at environmental chemicals in NH residents. If they are interested, then they will receive a call from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Survey Center. NH residents (living in NH full-time at least 6 months of the year) who are interested in participating will be directed to an online survey with a consent form. All individuals 6 years and older in a home can complete the consent form and take the online survey (those under 18 years old can do this with consent from a parent/guardian). Successfully completing the consent form and survey will enroll a person in this study, however enrollment does not guarantee participation as only 400 people will be able to participate. Participation will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The purpose of this study is to collect data that is representative of NH residents. To make sure this happens, BiomonitoringNH will select participants who have completed the enrollment process (consent form and online survey) based on geographic area and demographics like age, sex, and ethnicity. This is to assure that the data collected in this study is representative of NH residents aged 6 years and older. Those selected to participate will be mailed a Specimen Collection Kit to help them complete the next steps in the study. These steps include:

  • Having blood and urine collected at one of the Participating Medical Facilities Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.
  • Collecting a stagnant home water sample for lead and copper testing.
  • Allowing a staff person from the NH Department of Environmental Services to collect home water samples for additional testing.

Everyone who fully participates in this study by completing the steps described above will receive a $25 Walmart gift card.

Participants in the 2019 NH TrACE Study can expect the following:

  • Guidance and answers to their questions via email and phone (contact information below) in a timely manner during regular business hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 4:00pm (excludes holidays).
  • Results for their testing. Participants have the option to receive the results of their urine and blood (clinical) testing and their home water testing. They may choose to receive just their clinical results, just their water results, both, or neither. If a participant chooses to receive their results, then the majority of them will be mailed within 8-16 weeks from when their clinical samples were collected. The remaining results will be mailed at the end of the study (after data analysis is complete) so that they can compare their results to the average results of the study.
  • Health professional support for interpreting their results. Participants will be given access to a health professional for questions regarding their personal results and what they may mean for their health. Information about how to receive this support will be included in their report packet.
  • A $25 gift card to Walmart for completing the study (see above under Participation).

The BiomonitoringNH Program expects participants will:

  • Ask questions if they do not understand how to fully participate.
  • Leave the inner Specimen Collection Kit envelope sealed when they receive it in the mail. The outer envelope should be opened, but not the inner Specimen Collection Kit. This is because the materials included are very sensitive and must be opened only by someone at the medical facility (where the blood and urine samples will be collected), as they have received instruction on how to do this.
  • Notify the BiomonitoringNH program if they decide that they no longer wish to participate in the study.
  • Not use the Walmart gift card to purchase tobacco or alcohol.

If you have questions about the study, please contact Amanda Cosser, Program Manager, or Melissa Josefiak, Program Specialist (see contact information below).

Financial and technical assistance is being provided through cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Laboratory Sciences at the National Center for Environmental Health RFA EH14140202. The contents of these pages do not necessary represent the official views of the CDC.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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