The Canadian Health Measures Survey

The Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) is a national survey that is led by Statistics Canada, in partnership with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, which collects information from Canadians about their general health. The CHMS is the most comprehensive, direct health measures survey conducted in Canada and is designed to represent the Canadian population. Through personal interviews and the collection of physical measurements, the survey provides baseline data on indicators of environmental exposures, chronic diseases, infectious diseases, fitness, and nutritional status, as well as risk factors and protective characteristics related to these areas. The physical measurements include such factors as height and weight, blood pressure, physical fitness and lung function measures, as well as many measures based on blood and urine samples including environmental chemicals.

The CHMS is an ongoing survey.

Biomonitoring Content

Since 2007, the CHMS has collected biomonitoring data from four cycles of the survey. The Biomonitoring Content Summary for the Canadian Health Measures Survey: Cycles 1-4 (2007-2015) presents a complete list of environmental chemicals measured or planned for measurement in blood and/or urine samples collected as part of the CHMS between 2007 and 2015.

Reports on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada

The Reports on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada provide the results of the biomonitoring component from each two-year cycle of the CHMS. The primary purpose of the reports is to provide chemical exposure information, based on human biomonitoring, to scientists, health professionals, and policy makers. This information will help with the evaluation of chemical exposure and the development of policies to protect the health of Canadians.

Format of the Reports

The reports describe the survey methods used and include the following information for each chemical or chemical group:

  • A scientific description of the chemical
  • Common uses of the chemical
  • Potential sources of exposure
  • Information about possible health effects
  • Existing Canadian biomonitoring data
  • Relevant acts and regulations

The reports provide biomonitoring results, presented in tables, representing the total Canadian population, further sub-divided by sex and age group. The data tables indicate how many samples were included and the average concentration (or level) of the chemical in the blood or urine of that group, as well as its percentile. A percentile provides an idea of how the measurements are distributed in the population. For example, if a measured concentration is at the 95th percentile, then 95% of the people measured are below this concentration and 5% of people are above it.

For chemicals that were measured in more than one cycle, all sets of data are shown for comparison. Data for chemicals measured multiple cycles will be used to track trends of levels in Canadians over time and to assess the effectiveness of regulatory and health risk management actions. For new chemicals, these national data will be used as an important baseline, or starting point, for future monitoring and research.

Alternate Data Sources

  • Government of Canada's Open data portal
    downloadable CHMS biomonitoring summary data (XLS format)
  • Statistics Canada's RDC Program (Research Data Centres)
    provides researchers with access, in a secure university setting, to microdata from the CHMS (including biomonitoring, indoor air and tap water data) as well as other Statistics Canada population and household surveys

Chemicals Selected for Biomonitoring in the CHMS

The chemicals measured in the each cycle of the CHMS were selected based on one or more of the following considerations:

  • Known or suspected health effects
  • Level of public concern
  • Evidence of exposure in the Canadian population
  • New or existing requirements for public health action
  • The ability to detect and measure the chemical or its breakdown products in humans
  • Similarity to chemicals monitored in other national and international programs to allow for meaningful comparisons
  • Costs of performing the analysis

Chemicals can be rotated in and out of the biomonitoring component. In some cases, chemicals have been repeated in some cycles to obtain additional information or a larger number of samples. In other cases, chemicals have been removed and may be added back in later cycles. New chemicals have been included to obtain national baseline data where none may have existed before.

The Biomonitoring Content Summary for the Canadian Health Measures Survey: Cycles 1-4 (2007-2015) presents a complete list of environmental chemicals measured or planned for measurement in blood and/or urine samples collected as part of the CHMS to date.

For more information

To stay current with news and information from the biomonitoring component of the CHMS, send an email to HC.Biomonitoring-Biosurveillance.SC@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: