Consortium to perform human biomonitoring on a European Scale
human biomonitoring for europe
a harmonized approach is feasible
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HBM and related research

COPHES takes into account the newest results in biomarker developments.

Biomarker development is progressing continuously.  This includes the research on new non-invasive matrices but also the research related to effect biomarkers, susceptibility markers and new emerging pollutants. The newest results in biomarker developments are fed into COPHES through extensive contacts with ongoing EU and international projects and programmes and by organising workshops in connection with relevant scientific meetings.

This work ensures that all members of COPHES and other stakeholders are aware of developments, trends and changes in the medium to long-term future in the field of HBM that could have an impact on its ability to effectively use HBM programmes.

In particular we aim to:

  • Assess future inclusion of new biomarkers (effect markers, non invasive markers, -omics, addressing emerging pollutants, etc) into HBM surveillance studies through linkage with other national, EU and international programmes.
  • Identify upcoming research and development points from new projects.
  • Provide an overview of relevant existing scientific research on effect markers, non invasive sampling, and -omics in the EU and worldwide, and prepare general guidelines for possible application of these markers for HBM survey activities.
  • Establish close collaboration with major scientific journals covering HBM topics and organise and participate in relevant workshops.


1. Workshop on non-invasive sampling techniques for human biomonitoring; Brussels, 10  December 2010.

2. Workshop on bisphenol A, triclosan, and parabens; Brussels, 01 December 2011.

3. Workshop on “Omics and metals” ; Copenhagen, 12-14 March 2012.

The programmes, abstracts and speakers' presentations are available for download from here

Related Links: - NewGeneris is an Integrated Project conducted within the European Union's 6th Framework Programme, priority area Food Quality and Safety. Its objective is to investigate the role of prenatal and early-life exposure to genotoxic chemicals present in food and the environment in the development of childhood cancer and immune disorders. -  Public health impact of long-term, low-level mixed element exposure in susceptible population strata (Phime) - ERA-ENVHEALTH, Coordination of Environment and Health research in Europe since September 2008, 16 E&H funders from 10 countries and representatives of various stakeholders have joined forces and resources to help increase the relevance and efficiency of E&H research in Europe. - ENRIECO, Environmental Health Risks in European Birth Cohorts is a project conducted within the European Union's 7th Framework Programme [Theme 6, Environment (Including Climate Change)].  Its overall aim is to advance our knowledge on specific environment and health causal relationships in pregnancy and birth cohorts by providing support to exploitation of the wealth of data generated by past or ongoing studies funded by the EC and national programmes. - DEER, Developmental Effects of Environment on Reproduction, a multidisciplinary research project aiming at improving our understanding of the role of environmental factors in the development and establishment of human reproductive health. The project started in May 2008 and concluded four years later in April 2012. The research being carried out in DEER receives funding (EU contribution € 3.49 million) from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 212844.

DEER is part of the Network on Environmental Chemical Toxicants Affecting Reproduction (NECTAR) together with the EU-funded research projects CONTAMED and REEF. - NECTAR Network on Environmental Chemical Toxicants Targeting Reproduction. The cluster was launched on May 1st 2008 to investigate the potential impact of chemicals and pollutants on reproductive health. This comprises four major studies (REEF, DEER, CONTAMED and CLEAR) examining what are known as endocrine disruptors – chemicals that interfere with normal hormone function. These are natural and man made substances – such as compounds used in plastics and pesticides, together with heavy metals - to which we are exposed every day and which can mimic or interfere with our hormones. - CONTAMED: Contaminant mixtures and human reproductive health – novel strategies for health impact and risk assessment of endocrine disrupters. It aims to improve our knowledge about the role of chemical pollution in the decline of male reproductive health in Europe. - REEF: Reproductive Effects of Environmental chemicals in Females an EU-funded research project which will improve our understanding of how environmental chemicals and endocrine-disrupting compounds endanger reproduction and foetal development in the female. - ArcRisk, Arctic Health Risks: Impacts on health in the Arctic and Europe owing to climate-induced changes in contaminant cycling.

ArcRisk is an international EU funded research activity that is looking at the linkages between environmental contaminants, climate change and human health – aimed at supporting European policy development in these areas. The Arctic setting provides unique opportunities for research in these fields.

All of us are exposed to environmental contaminants such as mercury and organic chemicals that persist in the environment. In some cases, exposure to these chemicals is high enough to raise concerns about possible subtle effects on human health.

Climate change has the potential to alter the pathways by which harmful chemicals cycle through the environment and enter food chains. - ENFIRO, Life Cycle Assessment of Environment-Compatible Flame Retardants: Prototypical Case Study ENFIRO a European Commission-funded project offers a prototypical case study on substitution options for specific brominated flame retardants (BFRs). The project delivers a comprehensive dataset on viability of production and application, environmental safety, and a life cycle assessment of the alternative flame retardants (FRs). - ENVIROGENOMARKERS,Genomics biomarkers of environmental health EnviroGenomarkers is a European FP7 research project aiming at the development and application of a new generation of biomarkers to study the role of environmental agents in human disease. - HENVINET, Health & Environment Networking Portal The HENVINET is a powerful new networking portal designed specifically for the global Environment and Health community. The portal is a product of the EU funded HENVINET project.

With a range of innovative tools for locating and accessing expertise, sharing knowledge, views and networking with peers, HENVINET empowers a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the most pressing Environment and Health issues at hand. - HEIMTSA, Health and Environment Integrated Methodology and Toolbox for Scenario Assessment) has brought together an international team of scientists in the areas of epidemiology, environmental science and biosciences, to collaborate on developing and applying new, integrated approaches to the assessment of environmental health risks and consequences, in support of European policy in transport, energy, agriculture, industry, household and waste treatment and disposal. - INTARESE Integrated assessment of Health risk of environmental stressors in Europe.

INTARESE brings together a team of internationally lead scientists in the areas of epidemiology, environmental science and biosciences to collaborate on developing and applying new, integrated approaches to the assessment of environmental health risks and consequences, in support of European policy on environmental health.

The project is designed to make a major and practical contribution to implementation of the European Action Plan on Environment and Health, the European Environment and Health Strategy and the European Integrated Environment and Health Monitoring and Response System, and more generally, to assist in achieving the goals of the Environmental Action Plan. - EIHIAS Integrated environmental health impact assessment system. This toolbox is designed to help people design and carry out integrated environmental health impact assessments.  It is aimed primarily at policy-makers who may commision assessments or need to use their results and scientists responsible for conducting assessments.  However, it is also expected to be useful for other stakeholders involved in assessments, as well as students who wish to learn about the principles and methods used. - European Environment Agency. - Chemicals Agency (ECHA). - (John Bartzis coordinator): Project “On the reduction of health effects from combined exposure to indoor pollutants in Modern Offices” from which a database on new and emerging pollutants will be constructed in collaboration with JRC. - (Coordinated by VITO): the project focuses on consumer products, known to be potential sources of hazardous and other health relevant air pollutants in dwellings. The BUMAC database on these air pollutants and their home sources is currently under construction. - Radon prevention and remediation: project to assist in reducing the significant public health burden of radon related lung cancers in EU Member States. - Data on health determinants (questionnaire, biological samples) and perinatal outcomes. - Cancer and biomarkers - Health risk assessment for nanomaterials, exposure modelling, PBPK modeling, IOM coordinates. - Environmental Health Risks in European Birth Cohorts. Data on diagnosis and occupation collected by questionnaires. - HBM data (HM, ED etc.), questionnaire data on exposure-relevant behavior. - Investigating long term effects on human health of exposure to air pollution in Europe; health impact assessment, air pollution. - Expert team to support human biomonitoring in Europe (ESBIO). FP& Project: Development of a coordinated approach for biomonitoring based on existing expertise and experiences available in Member States surveillance programmes and results from research. - FLEHS I and II. Coordination of the Flemish Human Biomonitoring project. - GERES IV. Human biomonitoring data, pollutants in house dust, drinking water, and indoor air, questionnaire data on exposure-relevant behavior. - HBM, pesticides, exposure modeling. - Policy interpretation network on children’s health and environment  (PINCHE). - Toxicity of new drugs.


Leading institution

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  Dr. Reinhard Joas BiPRO GmbH, Munich, Germany
  Dr. Ludwine Casteleyn, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  Dr. Anke Joas BiPRO GmbH, Munich, Germany