The Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) biobank and biomonitoring

The MIREC Biobank is a storehouse for biospecimens, such as:

  • urine
  • blood
  • human milk

It holds data and samples collected from MIREC participants with their consent.

Biomonitoring is the assessment of a chemical substance (or parts of that substance) in biospecimens.

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The biospecimens gathered in the MIREC study and the data related to them are coded and safely stored. These can be used for future research on the health of mothers and their children.

The biobank resides at Sainte-Justine's Hospital Research Centre in Montreal.

Policies are in place to ensure the proper use of the Biobank. Researchers have applied to access these data and biospecimens for Biobank projects such as:

  • studies of infant immune markers
  • studies of air pollution and newborn size
  • measuring new chemicals such as triclosan in maternal urine


Measurements are normally taken from blood and urine and sometimes from:

  • hair
  • saliva
  • human milk

Biomonitoring studies that focus on sub-populations, such as pregnant women, are very useful. They can be used to compare results to studies of the broader population (e.g. comparing pregnant women to all women). The MIREC study complements the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS).

The CHMS collects biospecimens and information from Canadians aged 3 to 79 on:

  • health
  • lifestyle
  • environmental chemicals
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