Government of Canada releases the latest results of the Canadian Health Measures Survey

News release

The survey helps inform federal actions to protect Canadians from exposure to chemicals

December 15, 2020 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada

This week, Health Canada and Statistics Canada released new results from the biomonitoring component of the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). The biomonitoring component of the CHMS collects meaningful data that informs evidence-based decisions to protect the health and safety of Canadians.    

The pooled serum study of the CHMS adds important new knowledge to our understanding of Canadians’ exposure to chemicals, by combining individual samples to quantify chemicals, which would otherwise be difficult to detect in individual samples. The results include the first nationally representative datasets for dioxins and furans in blood. These are produced from natural processes and human activities, and are found in the environment throughout the world. The Government of Canada considers some dioxins and furans to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic. A complete list of the chemicals included in the survey can be found here.

The wealth of human biomonitoring information in the CHMS has been used in more than 700 scientific publications, and the summary data are available free of charge to provinces, territories, cities, researchers, students and all Canadians through the Open Government portal and the CHMS biomonitoring site.

The CHMS is an ongoing national survey that collects information relevant to the health of Canadians through interviews and direct physical measurements. The biomonitoring component of the CHMS involves the collection and analysis of blood and urine samples to measure concentrations of certain environmental chemicals, and provides baseline concentrations of chemicals in the general Canadian population. For example, previous biomonitoring data released from the CHMS demonstrated that lead levels in the blood of Canadians have dropped by more than 70% since the 1970s, showing the effectiveness of actions taken to reduce the exposure of Canadians to lead.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is a world leader in protecting Canadians from exposure to chemicals.

  • The national biomonitoring initiative of the Canadian Health Measures Survey is part of the Government’s actions on chemicals, including the Chemicals Management Plan, and is an important component of the vision for a healthy Canada.

  • The CHMS is led by Statistics Canada in partnership with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

  • Since 2007, more than 250 chemicals have been measured in over 29,000 Canadians from three to 79 years of age, at 81 sites across Canada.

  • The data are an important resource for assessing Canadians' exposure and informing risk assessment decisions and risk management actions under the Chemicals Management Plan.

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