A conference to launch the “European Human Biomonitoring Initiative” (HBM4EU) took place on 8 December 2016 in Brussels. It was followed by a half-day stakeholders meeting on 9 December.
HBM4EU is a joint effort of 26 countries and the European Commission, co-funded by Horizon 2020, to coordinate and advance human biomonitoring (HBM) activities in Europe. The stated aim is “to provide better evidence in support of policy making”.
The launch event introduced the initiative and presented some of the key activities to be undertaken. Long-standing HBM activities from programmes outside the European Union, including US, Canada and Japan, were be presented to give participants a perspective on how the EU project fits into the international landscape.
Launch of EU human biomonitoring initiative, env-health, 8 December 2016.
Although 26 countries are involved, biomonitoring will take place in 25 countries, including 22 EU members and three non-members. They are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. Information on the national organisations participating in the consortium can be found here.
The nine substance groupings that will be the focus of the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative in the first two years (2017-2018) are:
- phthalates and Hexamoll® DINCH,
- per-/polyfluorinated compounds,
- flame retardants,
- cadmium and chromium,
- aniline family,
- chemical mixtures,
- and emerging substances.
A half-day technical consultation took place the following day. It will be the first in a series of more in-depth discussions with stakeholders that accompanies annual work plans. Génon Jensen, HEAL Executive Director spoke at the introductory session on the project and its stakeholder process on: “Human biomonitoring to inform and empower citizens”. This main session was followed by break-out groups on research and stakeholder expectations.
HEAL has become the informal coordinator on human biomonitoring for NGOs working on chemicals because of our long involvement in promoting human biomonitoring for better health and environmental policy. In 2006, HEAL undertook a small-scale biomonitoring programme on mercury, which resulted in health moving to the centre of international discussions on mercury.