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European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU)


This third-party funded project is conducted in the framework of the BfR research programme to harmonise and standardise assessments of exposure.

EU grant agreement number: 733032

Project homepage:

Project description:

The overarching goal of the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative is to generate knowledge to ensure the safe management of chemicals and so protect human health. We will use human biomonitoring to understand human exposure to chemicals and resulting health impacts and will communicate with policy makers to ensure that our results are exploited in the design of new chemicals policies and the evaluation of existing measures.

Key objectives include:

• Harmonising procedures for human biomonitoring across 26 countries, to provide policy makers with comparable data on human internal exposure to chemicals and mixtures of chemicals at EU level;

• Linking data on internal exposure to chemicals to aggregate external exposure and identifying exposure pathways and upstream sources. Information on exposure pathways is critical to the design of targeted policy measures to reduce exposure;

• Generating scientific evidence on the causal links between human exposure to chemicals and negative health outcomes; and

• Adapting chemical risk assessment methodologies to use human biomonitoring data and account for the contribution of multiple external exposure pathways to the total chemical body burden.

We will achieve these objectives by harmonising human biomonitoring initiatives in 26 countries, drawing on existing expertise and building new capacities. By establishing National Hubs in each country to coordinate activities, we will create a robust Human Biomonitoring Platform at European level. This initiative contributes directly to the improvement of health and well-being for all age groups, by investigating how exposure to chemicals affects the health of different groups, such as children, pregnant women, foetuses and workers. We will also investigate how factors such as behaviour, lifestyle and socio-economic status influence internal exposure to chemicals across the EU population. This knowledge will support policy action to reduce chemical exposure and protect health.

BfR parts of the project:

The BfR is involved as a linked third party in three of 16 work packages (WP):

WP5 Translating results into policy: HBM4EU results will provide scientific support to decision makers to better protect the health of European citizens. Activities under this WP will enhance the interpretation of internal chemical exposure levels in terms of risks to health, and promote the use of human biomonitoring data in chemical risk assessment.

WP12 From HBM to exposure: The main objectives of this WP is to link human biomonitoring data to exposure. Our work will link data from human biomonitoring, environmental monitoring and external exposure modelling. This will support a more effective interpretation of human biomonitoring data in elucidating chemical exposure and supporting both chemical risk assessment and management.

WP14 Effect Biomarkers: This WP will provide the tools to understand the impact of environmental exposure on human health through the identification and validation of specific biomarkers of effect. For this purpose, HBM4EU partners will create an inventory of existing biomarkers of human health effects, based on the scientific literature, and will classify these biomarkers according to their relevance, level of validation, applicability to human biomonitoring studies, and adverse outcome pathways


External Links

Coordinating and advancing human biomonitoring in Europe to provide evidence for chemical policy making


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