California Region Exposure Study 2 (CARE-2)

Project Timeline: 5/1/2018 through 5/31/2019

The CARE studies were designed to better understand Californians’ exposures to chemicals and their exposure pathways, and trends in both the type and levels of these chemicals and toxins stored in their bodies. Carried out by Biomonitoring California, within the California Department of Public Health’s Environmental Investigations Branch, these studies measure and compare the environmental chemicals in found at-risk communities disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards, certain at-risk occupations, or the general population. The second of eight planned studies, CARE-LA was launched in 2018 and focused on adults residing in Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, Mono, and Inyo counties.

In collaboration with Biomonitoring California, SF staff helped mobilize environmental justice organizations and other groups working with California communities disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards to determine their community’s concerns and health priorities. SF staff helped carry out surveys to stakeholders, including environmental justice organizations, community groups, and Tribes focused on environmental and public health issues. Further recruitment led to conducting group listening sessions or one-on-one interviews with 60 individuals about specific environmental hazards of concern in their communities and how biomonitoring projects could support efforts to promote community health and improve local policies. Common environmental and health problems were identified and helped inform study design and strategies for building trust and establishing partnerships within these communities. 

SF staff identified, interviewed, and recruited 359 residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, Mono, and Inyo counties were identified, interviewed, evaluated, and consented to participate in the second phase of the study, CARE-2. All study participants donated blood and urine samples which were tested for ten metals, and a subset of 159 participants was also tested for 1-nitropyrene (indicative of exposure to diesel exhaust), and 151 participants were tested for seven phenols (chemicals often used in personal care/consumer products). After samples were analyzed, SF helped to provide participants with their laboratory results and summary data on the entire study. We also held community meetings to discuss study findings with the general public.