Minnesota to expand biomonitoring program for kids thanks to new grant

Minnesota is among six states to win a grant to expand its biomonitoring program for measuring children’s exposure to chemicals.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant, that it says funds an “increasingly important tool in public health,” according to a release.

The department says biomonitoring can help identify groups at risk for potentially harmful chemicals and help reduce such exposures.

“As we learn more about potential health impacts of chemicals in our environment, it’s important to have a deeper understanding of who may be exposed to what, and at what levels,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “We are excited about this opportunity to develop a clearer picture of these exposures. The results will help inform families, address concerns and contribute to healthier people and neighborhoods.”

The grant will last five years and allow the department to conduct biomonitoring statewide.

They plan to partner with local public health departments, school districts and parents to find 3 to 6-year-old children to test. All participation in the program will be voluntary.

The funding will total about $4 million over five years.

Here is what the biomonitoring can test for in children:

•             Metals found in drinking water, air pollution and some foods and products.

•             Pesticides used to control pests in agriculture and around the home.

•             Phthalates found in personal care products, toys and some foods.

•             Flame retardants found in household products like furniture and toys.