Rocky Mountain Biomonitoring Consortium

In 2003, the Rocky Mountain Biomonitoring Consortium (RMBC) was formed among the states of Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The RMBC was formed to address regional public health concerns by applying shared regional laboratory and epidemiology resources. The RMBC ended in 2008.

RMBC objectives:

RMBC accomplishments:

 

RMBC Organizational Model

The Consortium Working Group consisted of a chairperson (from New Mexico as the award recipient state) and the lead chemist and lead epidemiologist from each state. This thirteen member working group coordinated RMBC projects through annual face-to-face meetings, hosted in five of the six member states, and through regular (usually every two weeks) conference calls. The state representatives on the working group coordinated with their respective partnerships for guidance on state specific components of consortium projects. The state representatives coordinated the activities of participating state laboratory and epidemiology staff and resources. Members of the working group were organized into six subcommittees that developed best practices and pursued solutions to challenges for the consortium.

The RMBC used an Independent Evaluator to monitor and evaluate the consortium's progress on its objectives and projects. The Independent Evaluator used the Program Evaluation Logic Model that was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Originally, the organizational structure was intended to provide a mechanism for multiple layers of review for regulatory awareness, laboratory compliance, quality assurance, human subject protection, and fiscal accountability. In addition, the structure exploited the synergy of having epidemiologists and laboratory chemists from the six states cooperatively assessing problems of human exposure to environmental substances. As funding levels were reduced, subcommittees were consolidated with the roles being dispersed among the core Consortium Workgroup.

Prioritized Environmental Exposure Concerns

The process for identifying and prioritizing regional environmental exposure concerns involved the following steps:

The following table presents the ranked results of this assessment:

Compound Arizona Colorado Montana New Mexico Utah Wyoming RANK
Heavy Metals Panel 1 3 1 3 1 1 1.7
Arsenic [with speciation] 2 2 2 11 2 5 4.0
VOCs / TCE/ DCE / Solvents 8 7 6 1 6 2 5.0
Mercury [with speciation] 5 9 3 7 3 4 5.2
Organophosphates 10 5 4 5 10 8 7.0
Cotinine 4 13 7 4 4 14 7.7
PAHs from Wood Smoke 3 11 10 8 12 3 7.8
Radionuclides 9 1 11 6 15 6 8.0
Organochlorine Pesticides 11 6 5 12 9 9 8.7
Nitrates / Nitrites 15 4 8 9 8 12 9.3
Disinfection Byproducts 12 8 14 2 14 10 10.0
Phthalate Metabolites 14 10 16 10 13 7 11.7
Perchlorate 13 14 15 13 7 11 12.2
Creosote 6 12 9 15 16 17 12.5
Dioxins / Furans 17 15 13 14 5 18 13.7
Cyanide 16 18 12 17 11 16 15.0
Carbon Monoxide 7 16 18 16 18 15 15.0
Thiodiglycol & Sarin 18 17 17 18 17 13 16.7

 

From this ranking the RMBC Working Group identified ideas for demonstration projects. Some of the demonstration projects were:

Due to funding reductions during the subsequent years of the RMBC, not all of these projects were completed.

The Western Tracking Biomonitoring Collaborative (WBTC)

In 2005, the University of California, Berkeley organized a collaborative committee of state Environmental Public Health Tracking programs and state biomonitoring programs in the western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The WBTC facilitated a similar evaluation of western state environmental exposure concerns using. This led to a re-prioritization of the concerns previously identified by the RMBC. Heavy metal exposure, including the capacity to speciate arsenic and mercury exposure, remained the top exposure concern, followed by exposure to pesticides and phthalates.

The WBTC added a discussion of potential public health actions that could be taken to reduce exposure and an assessment to public and political will for those actions as part of the decision tools used to pursue biomonitoring projects.

RMBC and WBTC Contribution to the 4CSBC

There were a number of important lessons learned from the activities of the RMBC and WBTC that were applied during the formation of the Four Corners States Biomonitoring Consortium (4CSBC):

 

 

Last Update: April 3, 2017