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Alberta Biomonitoring Program: Chemicals in Serum of Pregnant Women and Children in Alberta


Biomonitoring provides a measure of internal doses of environmental chemicals or agents and allows for a more accurate measure of human health risk from these chemical exposures. Information presented in these Alberta Biomonitoring Program datasets were collected as part of two province-wide biomonitoring studies investigating the serum concentrations of a variety of environmental chemicals (both natural and synthetic) in pregnant women in northern, central, and southern Alberta (Phase 1) and in children in southern Alberta (Phase 2). The goals of the Alberta Biomonitoring Program are to create a benchmark against which to track future exposures, to provide a starting point for assessing health risks, to indicate possible exposure sources and to prioritize research efforts. Chemicals targeted for monitoring in this program were selected using expert guidance and reviewing similar studies conducted by other agencies. Each column represents a single chemical that was included for analysis in the study. Each row provides a mean concentration and standard error of measurement for the replicate pools in that Age + Region category. For more information please consult the Alberta Health reports (Phase 1: ; Phase 2:


September 21, 2022

Biomonitoring Blood Chemicals Children Health Maternal Metals Pregnant women Serum environmental health environmental public health

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Alberta Biomonitoring Program

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Samples of pregnant women’s blood serum were drawn anonymously and randomly from a population of 50,599 individual serum samples that were submitted to the Provincial Public Health Laboratory in Edmonton between January 1st 2005 and December 31st 2005. From this population, 28,484 individual blood serum samples were physically pooled by age and region, and analyzed for environmental chemicals.
Samples of children’s serum were drawn anonymously from 1845 archived samples at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and were pooled by age (≤5 years, 6-13 years) from the former Calgary Health Region (including children from Banff and Canmore). Pooling for each age classes was replicated 3 times (all with unique samples) for a total of 6 pools with 196 to 240 samples in each pool. These samples were taken from children that had presented for elective surgery between 2004 and 2006, and excluded children with chronic illnesses, autoimmune diseases, asthma, recurrent fractures, those undergoing biopsies, and various forms of endoscopy. 1373 individual blood serum samples were physically pooled by age and analyzed for a number of environmental chemicals. The concentrations presented in this study are from the testing of pooled samples (rather than the concentrations of compounds found in individual samples) which means that they represent an average concentration of all the individuals who made up the pool. The data presented in this spreadsheet are summary statistics of the replicate pools for each age and health region grouping. These numbers should not be extrapolated or used at an individual level. In this study, a value of half the limit of detection (LOD) or half the limit of quantification (LOQ) was substituted for pool concentrations that fell below the LOD or LOQ. For BDEs, values that fell below the LOD were LOD/2, and values below the LOQ and above the LOD were assigned the value of the LOQ/2. Data was reported for pregnant women only when more than 25% of pools had detectable concentrations.


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Alberta Health Environmental Public Health Science Team

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