Study Overview

study-overviewThe Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study was established to obtain national biomonitoring data on pregnant women and their infants and to examine potential adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals on pregnancy and infant health. Subsequently, studies of some of the MIREC children at birth, at 6 months, and at 2-5 years of age were carried out. MIREC also includes a data and biospecimens biobank, for future research. We refer to this body of research as the MIREC Research Platform. anglais


Studies and reports have raised concerns about the number of chemicals in our bodies and the health effects that may be associated with the levels measured. Canadian data on this issue are limited.

This Canadian study has the following purposes:

  • to measure the extent to which pregnant women and their babies are exposed to common environmental chemicals;
  • to measure some of the beneficial elements in human breast milk;
  • to assess what health risks, if any, are associated with the chemical levels measured, with a focus on heavy metals such as lead and mercury;
  • to create a data and biological specimen bank for further research on fetal growth, pregnancy and health of mother and baby.

MIREC is the « mother branch » or foundation of what we hope to be a long list of follow-up studies that will look at various aspects of the MIREC children’s health as they grow up. We have already completed one follow-up study of the MIREC babies at birth and 6 months of age (called MIREC-ID), as well as two follow-ups called MIREC-CD3 and MIREC-CD Plus. You will find a summary of these projects under MIREC & Follow-up Studies.

MIREC has created a large biobank of specimens and data collected for future research on the health of mothers and their children. About 97% of the MIREC participants agreed to this biobank. You will find a summary of the first five projects under Biobank Projects Content.


The co-principal investigators are:

  • Tye Arbuckle, PhD
    Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
    Health Canada, Ottawa
  • William Fraser, MD
    CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, Montreal

Funding agencies and research partners:

  • Health Canada
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Ontario Ministry of the Environment

MIREC participating cities

Participating cities