Mirjam Luijten – National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands

Exposure assessment of pesticide mixtures: can we identify hotspots? – 28 April – 9:20 am CEST

In HBMEU, a joint pesticide survey was conducted to assess combined exposure to multiple pesticides in so-called ‘hotspot’ and control areas using human biomonitoring. The Survey on PEstiCIde Mixtures in Europe (SPECIMEn, coordinated by WP15), involved five partner countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Spain and the Netherlands. In Switzerland, a study with a slightly different design was conducted. Within each of the five countries, 100 different households were included, of which 50 were located in hotspot areas (<250 m of agricultural application of pesticides). In each household, urine samples from one adult and one child were collected in two seasons, to take into account spraying versus non-spraying conditions. In total 2,087 urine samples were collected that were subjected to a suspect screening method that was harmonized between five laboratories (co-operation with WP16). For a subset of samples targeted measurement for some pesticides were carried out as well. We will present and discuss detection frequencies, patterns of exposure, and variability of the 45 unique parent pesticides and associated metabolites identified in the samples.


Mirjam Luijten is a senior research toxicologist at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Her research is aimed at Next Generation Risk Assessment, i.e., the development of a better, more human-relevant and more cost-effective system for risk assessment of chemicals. Areas of expertise include genetic toxicity and carcinogenesis, Adverse Outcome Pathways, chemical mixtures, New approach Methodologies (NAMs), and human relevance. She has been involved as workpackage leader in various international projects (e.g. EuroMix, PARC). In HBM4EU, she is leading the workpackage on chemical mixtures (WP15), entitled ‘Mixtures, HBM and human health risks’.



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.