Report on the biological monitoring of selected chemicals of concern

Results of the New Zealand biological monitoring programme, 2014-2016

Published online: 
19 June 2018
Report on the biological monitoring of selected chemicals of concern

This report presents the results of the first comprehensive national biological monitoring programme for selected chemicals of concern in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health commissioned Massey University’s Centre for Public Health Research to assess the level of selected chemicals in human blood and urine samples of New Zealanders.

Participants in the study were chosen randomly from a number of different regions, including Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, the lower North Island and the South Island.

The three year study aimed to:

  • Quantify the concentrations of chemicals tested in the blood and urine of representative numbers of children and adult New Zealanders and compare these levels to other countries where biomonitoring studies have recently been carried out.
  • Establish baseline levels of these selected chemicals in the New Zealand population.
  • Monitor the influence of gender, age, geographic region and ethnicity in relation to the levels of these chemicals in the New Zealand population.

The study tested a range of chemicals including lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, cadmium, thallium, antimony, cotinine, fluoride, environmental phenols (eg bisphenol A, parabens), and phthalate metabolites.

The study reported that New Zealanders’ levels were generally observed to be in the same range with the results from biomonitoring programmes recently conducted in other countries, such as the United States and Canada. New Zealand recorded lower levels than other countries for many chemicals.

The full report of the national biological monitoring programme is available on the Centre for Public Health Research’s website

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    19 June 2018
  • Citation:
    Mannetje et al. 2018. Report on the biological monitoring of selected chemicals of concern: Results of the New Zealand biological monitoring programme, 2014-2016. Wellington: Massey University.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:
    Third-party content. Please check the document or email the Web Manager to find out how to obtain permission to re-use content.
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