Erik Lebret – previously at National Institute of Public Health and the Environmental (RIVM), Netherlands

Mixture exposure assessment; can we move to risk assessment? – 28 April – 9:55 am CEST

In HBM4EU WP15 (Mixtures, HBM and human health risk) focused on assessing the co-occurrence of HBM exposure biomarkers, the health hazards related to mixtures and policy implications. Correlation network approaches were applied to analyse existing HBM databases (WP15.1), new data on pesticide mixtures was collected and analysed through a suspect screening approach together with WP16 (WP15.2), and health risks of mixtures were addressed in five case studies (WP15.3). At the end of 2021, an online workshop, preceded by four webinars, was convened to address the policy implications of the HBM4EU WP15 results.

The work on pesticides and the cases studies on health risks of mixtures are presented separately. In this presentation we will focus on the co-occurrence of HBM mixtures as identified through the correlation network approaches applied on existing HBM databases and present, discuss and update the overall conclusions and recommendations for research and policy on mixtures drafted at the 2021 workshop.

Erik Lebret, Ph.D. retired in 2019 as Chief Science Officer Integrated Risk Assessment at the National  Institute of Public Health and the Environmental (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands. He is an emeritus professor in Environmental Health Impact Assessment at the Institute of Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) at Utrecht University. Since retirement, he does some teaching, part-time consultancy (Lebret IVoRi Consult) and chairs and serves on a few expert committees.

He studied environmental health sciences at the University of Wageningen, where he also did his doctorate thesis on exposure to air pollution in the Dutch housing stock. In 1986, he spent a year as visiting research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, on a fellowship of the Dutch Organisation for the Advancement of Science, working on errors and misclassification problems in exposure assessment and their effect on exposure-response relations.

Over the years, he worked on a variety of environment and health issues and impact assessments in national and international projects. He was project leader of the HBM part of the Dutch Surveillance Programme Man, Nutrition and Environment and applied HBM in research project, hotspot studies and in disaster response and aftercare.

His current research interests include the role and attitudes of experts in policy advice on uncertain environmental health risk problems, and causal reasoning and argumentation in environmental health issues.


The HBM4EU project was launched in 2016 with the aim of improving the collective understanding of human exposure to hazardous chemicals and developing HBM as an exposure assessment method. The project had €74m in funding and jointly implemented by 120 partners from 28 participating countries – 24 EU member states plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Israel and the European Environment Agency. One of its aims was to ensure the sustainability of HBM in the EU beyond 2021. The project ended in June 2022. The website will not be updated any longer, except the page on peer reviewed publications, but will be online until 2032.