Coordinating and advancing human biomonitoring in Europe to provide evidence for chemical policy making
HBM4EU stands for “Human Biomonitoring for Europe”. The main aim of the initiative is to coordinate and advance human biomonitoring in Europe.
HBM4EU is a joint effort of 26 countries, the European Environment Agency and the European Commission, co-funded under Horizon 2020. The HBM4EU initiative represents a novel collaboration between scientists and chemical risk assessors and risk managers, including several Commission services, European agencies and national representatives. The project will build bridges between the research and policy worlds and deliver benefits to society in terms of enhanced chemical safety.
People are exposed to a complex mixture of chemicals in their daily lives through the environment, consumer products, food and drinking water and at work. Human biomonitoring allows the measurement of exposure to chemicals by measuring either the substances themselves, their metabolites or markers of subsequent health effects in body fluids or tissues. Human biomonitoring provides a useful tool for assessing cumulative exposure to complex mixtures of chemicals. By collecting data from a representative sample of individuals under continuous surveillance programmes, health practitioners are able to evaluate the exposure of the general population to chemicals over time. Information on human exposure can be linked to data on sources and health effects, in order to inform research on exposure-response relationships in humans.
HBM4EU will use Human Biomonitoring to assess human exposure to chemicals in Europe, to better understand the associated health impacts and to improve chemical risk assessment. Despite the existence of human biomonitoring programmes at national level and the large number of research and development projects ongoing both at national and European Union level, there is a clear lack of data on aggregate exposure to single substances and to combinations of chemical substances, as well as insufficient evidence-based knowledge on the link between external exposure via different routes, internal levels and human health. This knowledge is essential to inform effective policy-making to protect the European population from the impacts of chemical exposure on health. HBM4EU will form a bridge between science and policy. Our research will explore current questions in chemical risk assessment and management and will deliver answers that help policy makers to protect human health. Policy makers, stakeholders and scientists will together shape the strategic direction of HBM4EU activities. This transparent and collaborative approach will ensure that our research generates knowledge that addresses genuine societal concerns.
- Harmonise procedures and tools for human biomonitoring at European Union level;
- Provide and, where missing, generate internal exposure data and link this data to external exposure and the relevant exposure pathways;
- Develop novel methods to identify human internal exposure to environmental and occupational chemicals and establish the causal links with human health effects;
- Provide policy-makers and the general public with science-based knowledge on the health risks associated with chemicals exposure; and
- Improve chemical risk assessment in the European Union through the effective use of human biomonitoring data.