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Title: A pilot study on the feasibility of European harmonized human biomonitoring: Strategies towards a common approach, challenges and opportunities

In 2004 the European Commission and Member States initiated activities towards a harmonized approach for Human Biomonitoring surveys throughout Europe. The main objective was to sustain environmental health policy by building a coherent and sustainable framework and by increasing the comparability of data across countries. A pilot study to test common guidelines for setting up surveys was considered a key step in this process. Through a bottom-up approach that included all stakeholders, a joint study protocol was elaborated. From September 2011 till February 2012, 17 European countries collected data from 1844 mother–child pairs in the frame of DEMOnstration of a study to COordinate and Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale (DEMOCOPHES). Mercury in hair and urinary cadmium and cotinine were selected as biomarkers of exposure covered by sufficient analytical experience. Phthalate metabolites and Bisphenol A in urine were added to take into account increasing public and political awareness for emerging types of contaminants and to test less advanced markers/markers covered by less analytical experience. Extensive efforts towards chemo-analytical comparability were included. The pilot study showed that common approaches can be found in a context of considerable differences with respect to experience and expertize, socio-cultural background, economic situation and nationalmore » priorities. It also evidenced that comparable Human Biomonitoring results can be obtained in such context. A European network was built, exchanging information, expertize and experiences, and providing training on all aspects of a survey. A key challenge was finding the right balance between a rigid structure allowing maximal comparability and a flexible approach increasing feasibility and capacity building. Next steps in European harmonization in Human Biomonitoring surveys include the establishment of a joint process for prioritization of substances to cover and biomarkers to develop, linking biomonitoring surveys with health examination surveys and with research, and coping with the diverse implementations of EU regulations and international guidelines with respect to ethics and privacy. - Highlights: • A common European Human Biomonitoring (HBM) survey protocol was developed through a bottom-up approach. • A joint process for prioritization was established to select a limited set of biomarkers, some covered by experience and others for emerging substances. • The protocol was tested in a pilot study, resulting in HBM results comparable on a European scale which sustained environmental health policy. • Ethics and privacy regulations were not an obstacle for transnational harmonization.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ; ;  [2] ; ;  [3] ;  [4] ; ;  [5] ;  [4] ; ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ; ;  [10] ;  [11] ;  [3] ;  [12] more »; « less
  1. KU Leuven (Belgium)
  2. Federal Environment Agency (UBA) (Germany)
  3. VITO (Belgium)
  4. Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Spain)
  5. Ruhr Universität Bochum (Germany)
  6. Public Health England (United Kingdom)
  7. Environmental Health Sciences International (Netherlands)
  8. Jožef Stefan Institute (Slovenia)
  9. Kobenhavns Universitet (Denmark)
  10. BiPRO (Germany)
  11. Federal Public Service Health, Food chain safety and Environment (Belgium)
  12. Hainaut Vigilance Sanitaire (HVS) and Hygiene Publique in Hainaut (HPH) (Belgium)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22483312
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 141; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; BIOLOGICAL MARKERS; BIOLOGICAL STRESS; CHILDREN; COBALT PHOSPHIDES; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; ETHICAL ASPECTS; HAIR; MERCURY; REGULATIONS; URINE