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Press Release

New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories Receive Biomonitoring Grant from CDC
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Public Health Laboratories
Publish Date:
September 10, 2014

Concord, NH - New Hampshire is one of six states recently awarded a biomonitoring grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The award, which is funded for 5 years, provides $ 815,909 in year one to establish and expand biomonitoring capacity in the State Public Health Laboratories, as part of an on-going effort by CDC. Biomonitoring is the direct measurement of environmental chemicals in people’s blood and urine, indicating the amount of chemical that actually enters the body from all environmental sources.

The CDC State Biomonitoring Cooperative Agreement serves to increase the capability and capacity of states to conduct biomonitoring and surveillance to assess human exposure to environmental chemicals. Biomonitoring provides human exposure data that can assist in making important public health decisions. Better exposure information helps identify at-risk population groups and assess the effectiveness of interventions.

"This is a great opportunity for the Public Health Laboratories to help determine if New Hampshire residents are being exposed to selected contaminants in the environment and work with partners toward plans for alleviating these pathways in the future,” said Dr. Christine Bean, Director of the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NH PHL). “I am proud of the work the laboratorians do here every day and that we were one of only six states to receive this grant.”

NH PHL will use the funding to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies, hire and train toxicologists and epidemiologists, and conduct both targeted and surveillance investigations. Toxicologists will conduct the laboratory analysis and epidemiologists will work to determine exposure risks of New Hampshire residents. CDC program staff will provide technical support and training for the state program.

The NH PHL will begin working on an arsenic and uranium project analyzing urine and water samples from individuals reliant on private bedrock wells for drinking water. Residents of selected high-risk communities, as determined by local geology, will be invited to participate in this important public health study. Arsenic speciation, which is used to identify which form of arsenic is present, will be conducted on urine specimens with elevated total arsenic.

In future years of the project, the PHL will initiate a state-wide Surveillance Biomonitoring effort, testing blood and urine for chemicals of concern in New Hampshire. The data from these analyses will be useful in determining state-specific background levels of contaminants, identifying emerging concerns, prioritizing resources, and evaluating public health interventions. Biomonitoring data from New Hampshire will help inform the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services in implementation of multiple priority areas in the New Hampshire State Health Improvement Plan, http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/documents/nhship2013-2020.pdf.

 
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