Maria Uhl – Environment Agency Austria
PFAS data from Europe – results and policy implications – 27 April – 1:40 pm CEST
The priority group of PFAS posed a particular challenge for HBM4EU, as it is a large group of extremely persistent substances, use and exposure are widespread, and health effects have been detected at much lower concentrations than previously thought. PFAS were addressed in all three pillars and 15 work packages of HBM4EU: (i) Science and Policy with policy mapping, risk assessment, consultations and workshops; (ii) Human Biomonitoring Platform, which included validation and quality assurance of analytical methods of participating laboratories and measurement of PFAS in European teenagers; and finally (iii) exposure-health relationships, which included PBPK and exposure modeling, evaluation of epidemiological studies, addressing specific research questions related to adverse effect pathways (AOPs), identification of effect biomarkers and assessment of health effects of PFAS mixtures. The results show that a fundamental restriction of this group of substances for all non-essential uses is urgently needed to protect the population and future generations.
Dr. Maria Uhl is a toxicologist with more than 20 years of experience in the field of environmental health and risk assessment. She is head of the team Studies and Consulting of the Umweltbundesamt Laboratories at the Environment Agency Austria. As senior scientist, Maria Uhl has worked on projects for the European Commission and has been project leader of several national and European projects. Maria Uhl coordinates the Austrian platform for human biomonitoring and is national coordinator for the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative HBM4EU. She is Chemical Group Lead for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) within HBM4EU and member of the PFAS working group at ECHA.
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.