First steps toward harmonized human biomonitoring in Europe: demonstration project to perform human biomonitoring on a European scale.
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AuthorsDen Hond, Elly
Koch, Holger M
Schindler, Birgit K
Knudsen, Lisbeth E
Mørck, Thit A
Gutleb, Arno C
Fischer, Marc E
Reis, M Fátima
Gurzau, Anca Elena
Tratnik, Janja Snoj
AffiliationFlemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Mol, Belgium; University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Umweltbundesamt (UBA), Berlin, Germany; Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Majadahonda (Madrid), Spain; nstitute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (IPA), Bochum, Germany; Public Health England, Chilton, United Kingdom; Environmental Health Sciences International, Hulst, the Netherlands; Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia; University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; BiPRO GmbH, Munich, Germany; Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, Brussels, Belgium; State General Laboratory, Nicosia, Cyprus; Paediatric Clinic, Larnaca General Hospital, Larnaca, Cyprus; National Institute of Public Health, Praha, Czech Republic; National Institute of Environmental Health, Budapest, Hungary; Health Service Executive, Dublin, Ireland; Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Belvaux, Luxembourg; Laboratoire National de Santé, Dudelange, Luxembourg; Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland; Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal; Environmental Health Center, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Urad Verejneho Zdravotnictva Slovenskej Republiky, Bratislava, Slovakia; Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Bern, Switzerland; University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium; University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
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AbstractFor Europe as a whole, data on internal exposure to environmental chemicals do not yet exist. Characterization of the internal individual chemical environment is expected to enhance understanding of the environmental threats to health.
We developed and applied a harmonized protocol to collect comparable human biomonitoring data all over Europe.
In 17 European countries, we measured mercury in hair and cotinine, phthalate metabolites, and cadmium in urine of 1,844 children (5-11 years of age) and their mothers. Specimens were collected over a 5-month period in 2011-2012. We obtained information on personal characteristics, environment, and lifestyle. We used the resulting database to compare concentrations of exposure biomarkers within Europe, to identify determinants of exposure, and to compare exposure biomarkers with health-based guidelines.
Biomarker concentrations showed a wide variability in the European population. However, levels in children and mothers were highly correlated. Most biomarker concentrations were below the health-based guidance values.
We have taken the first steps to assess personal chemical exposures in Europe as a whole. Key success factors were the harmonized protocol development, intensive training and capacity building for field work, chemical analysis and communication, as well as stringent quality control programs for chemical and data analysis. Our project demonstrates the feasibility of a Europe-wide human biomonitoring framework to support the decision-making process of environmental measures to protect public health.
CitationEnviron. Health Perspect. 2015, 123 (3):255-63
Sponsorsthe European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007–2013] under grant agreement 244237. DEMOCOPHES (DEMOnstration of a study to C Oordinate and Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale) was co-funded (50%:50%) by the European Commission LIFE+ Programme (LIFE09/ENV/BE/000410) and the partners.
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