Childhood Exposure to Flame Retardant Chemicals Declines but Do Not Disappear

Temporal trends and developmental patterns of plasma polybrominated diphenyl ether concentrations over a 15-year period between 1998 and 2013

NEW YORK (April 4, 2018) — Exposure to flame retardants once widely used in consumer products has been falling, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Although the chemicals were present in all children tested, the researchers are the first to show that levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) measured in children significantly decreased over a 15 year period between 1998 and 2013. The Center previously linked exposure to PBDEs with attention problems and lower scores on tests of mental and psychomotor development in children.

 

Toddlers had the highest concentrations of BDE in their blood than at any other age, possibly because they spend more time on the floor and have more contact with dust at this age.

Though levels of these flame retardants are decreasing over time, investigators found PBDEs in every child blood sample.

“These findings suggest that while pentaBDE levels have been decreasing since the phase-out, they continue to be detected in the blood of young children nearly 10 years following their removal from U.S. commerce”

says Whitney Cowell, the study’s first author and pediatric environmental health research fellow at Mt. Sinai.

“However, since the phase-out of PBDEs, we have begun to detect other flame retardant chemicals in children, which are likely being used as replacements.”

says senior author Julie Herbstman, associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences.

References

The impact of chemicals on children’s brain development

A cause for concern and a need for action

No Brainer

Science has shown that many thousands of people have been exposed to now mostly banned chemicals such as lead and PCBs at high enough levels to have had their brain development negatively affected. This report finds that there are other chemicals which are still in routine use in our homes where there is evidence of similar developmental neurotoxic (DNT) properties, and also identifies huge gaps in our knowledge of the impacts of other chemicals on brain development. It also points out the unpleasant reality that we are constantly exposed to a cocktail of chemicals, something which is still largely ignored by chemical safety laws.

In spite of the lessons of the past, regulators are continuing to only regulate after harm is caused, instead of acting to effectively protect the most precious of things; children’s developing brains.

In June 2007 CHEM Trust wrote the briefing Chemicals Compromising Our Children, which highlighted growing concerns about the impacts of chemicals on brain development in children. Almost 10 years later, CHEM Trust has revisited the issue with this report, which includes contributions from two of the most eminent scientists in this area, Professor Barbara Demeneix (Laboratory of Evolution of Endocrine Regulations, CNRS, Paris) and Professor Philippe Grandjean (Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark & Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA), who also peer reviewed the report.

Our brain and its development

Download the full report “No Brainer, The impact of chemicals on children’s brain development: a cause for concern and a need for action”, chemtrust, 2017.

Our brains are astoundingly complex, made up of over 85 billion neurons, which have grown, developed and interconnected during our lives. The brain is the organ that takes the longest to develop, with initial stages of cell division, creation of neurons and their migration taking place from the first hours after fertilisation and throughout the foetus’ time in the womb. However, brain development does not stop at birth – it’s not until our twenties that neurons are fully developed with their myelin coats.

Throughout this complex developmental process a range of signalling chemicals and other processes operate in order to control what happens. The thyroid hormone system is intimately involved in brain development and function, yet it is well established that this system can be disrupted – for example by a lack of iodine (essential to make thyroid hormone) or by certain chemicals. If developmental processes are disrupted, this most often creates permanent problems.

The complexity of brain development and function means that deficits can be very subtle – small reductions in IQ, disabilities that exist with a broad spectrum of seriousness such as autism, or in some cases conditions which do not have fully agreed diagnostic criteria.

Disruption of brain development by chemicals

Disruption of brain development by chemicals

We are all exposed to hundreds of man-made chemicals in our daily life, coming from everyday products including food, furniture, packaging and clothes. Many of these chemicals will have no negative effects on us, but it is now well established that some are able to disrupt normal development of the brain. Chemicals with long established DNT properties such as lead, PCBs and methylmercury, have been joined by others where DNT effects have been identified more recently, and which are being used in everyday products. There are also rising concerns about chemicals that are very similar to chemicals that have had their use restricted, but which we continue to use as there isn’t sufficient information about their toxic effects. We know even less about thousands of other chemicals in routine use, which have had no testing for DNT properties.

Chemical exposures are so ubiquitous that experts have recognized that babies are born “pre-polluted”. Scientific paediatric and gynaecology & obstetrics societies have consistently warned about chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure to chemicals such as pesticides and endocrine disruptors.

The report identifies evidence of DNT properties for the following chemicals:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    a chemical that was used to make baby bottles, is currently being phased out of till receipts (in the EU), but is still used in the making of food can linings and many polycarbonate plastics. There are also concerns about closely related chemicals that are not restricted, including Bisphenol S.
  • Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs)
    a group of chemicals added to furniture, electronics and building materials. The evidence for neurodevelopmental effects is strongest for the PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ether) group of BFRs, which are already banned or nearly banned in the EU, though they are still in furniture in our homes, and in dust. However, other BFRs are now being found in dust and human blood serum, with concerns that these BFRs might have similar effects.
  • Phthalates
    a group of chemicals used as plasticisers in PVC and in other products. Some chemicals in this group are now banned in the EU, but many others are still in use.
  • Per- and poly-fluorocarbons (PFCs)
    used as non-stick coatings or breathable coatings, are a large group of chemicals, a few of which are in the process of being restricted by the EU. There is evidence that some PFCs can disrupt the action of the thyroid hormone. PFCs are very persistent in the environment, and many of them can accumulate in our bodies – they are routinely found in blood.
  • Perchlorate
    a contaminant of food, related to the use of certain fertilisers and hypochlorite bleach, and is known to disrupt the thyroid hormone system.

Are we protected?

The EU has the most sophisticated regulations in the world for controlling chemical use. However, there are a number of key flaws in this system:

  • There is often inadequate safety information about individual chemicals, including a lack of information about neurodevelopmental effects.
  • The processes to ban chemicals are too slow, and the restrictions created often have big loopholes as a result of industry lobbying.
  • Chemicals are addressed one at a time, so one chemical may have its use restricted, but closely related chemicals remain in use.
  • We are always exposed to multiple chemicals, but regulations almost always assume we are only exposed to one at a time, even though numerous scientists have shown that chemical effects can add together in our bodies.

Policy recommendations

It is clear that our children are not currently being protected from chemicals that can disrupt brain development. We have identified a range of policy measures that could improve the situation, including:

  • Acting faster to ban chemicals of concern, including addressing groups of similar substances, not just those where we have the most information.
  • Ensuring that any safety testing of chemicals includes evaluation of DNT effects.
  • Ensuring better identification and regulation of neurodevelopmental toxic chemicals.
  • Ensuring that all uses of chemicals are properly regulated; for example there is a lack of effective regulation of chemicals in food packaging including paper, card, inks, glues and coatings.
  • The UK and Ireland should remove the requirement for an open flame test for furniture. This test is not required in the rest of the EU, and leads to increased use of flame retardant chemicals.

Finally, it is important to note that EU regulations have already controlled a number of chemicals of concern, and that EU laws provide a tool to address these problems. We therefore think it is vital for the UK Government to work to stay aligned with EU chemicals laws, whatever the eventual outcome of the UK’s Brexit process.

Though full protection will only come from proper regulation of chemicals, the report also includes a chapter with tips for reducing your and your family’s exposures in daily life.

Sources and More Information

  • Download the full report “No Brainer The impact of chemicals on children’s brain development: a cause for concern and a need for action”, chemtrust, 2017.
  • IT’S A NO BRAINER! Action needed to stop children being exposed to chemicals that harm their brain development!, chemtrust, MARCH 7, 2017.

Time Bomb: a Journey into Old Exposures, Gametic Glitches, and the Autism Explosion

Slides from Society for Neuroscience Wonder, February 2017

This presentation to a student-run chapter of SFN explained the history and science behind the “Time Bomb” hypothesis of autism.

DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Flame retardant toxic chemicals are showing up in more people

Dramatic Rise in Flame Retardant Levels in Kids and Adults

Levels of a cancer-causing flame retardant are increasing dramatically in the bodies of American adults and children, according to a new studyTemporal Trends in Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants in the United States – led by Duke University scientists, in collaboration with researchers at EWG and other universities.

2017 Study Abstract

During the past decade, use of organophosphate compounds as flame retardants and plasticizers has increased. Numerous studies investigating biomarkers (i.e., urinary metabolites) demonstrate ubiquitous human exposure and suggest that human exposure may be increasing.

To formally assess temporal trends, we combined data from 14 U.S. epidemiologic studies for which our laboratory group previously assessed exposure to two commonly used organophosphate compounds, tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCIPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). Using individual-level data and samples collected between 2002 and 2015, we assessed temporal and seasonal trends in urinary bis (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCIPP) and diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), the metabolites of TDCIPP and TPHP, respectively.

  • Data suggest that BDCIPP concentrations have increased dramatically since 2002. Samples collected in 2014 and 2015 had BDCIPP concentrations that were more than 15 times higher than those collected in 2002 and 2003 (10β = 16.5; 95% confidence interval from 9.64 to 28.3).
  • Our results also demonstrate significant increases in DPHP levels; however, increases were much smaller than for BDCIPP.
  • Additionally, results suggest that exposure varies seasonally, with significantly higher levels of exposure in summer for both TDCIPP and TPHP.

Given these increases, more research is needed to determine whether the levels of exposure experienced by the general population are related to adverse health outcomes.

Study and Press Releases

  • Temporal Trends in Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants in the United States, American Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00475, February 8, 2017.
  • Dramatic Rise in Flame Retardant Levels in Kids and Adults, ewg News Releases, FEBRUARY 8, 2017.
  • Flame Retardant Chemicals Found in More People, consumer reports, February 13, 2017.

Perturbateurs endocriniens : tous intoxiqués?

Les nouveaux poisons de notre quotidien

Enquête de santé, Allo Docteurs France 5, 01/02/2017.

Un documentaire / débat diffusé le 31 janvier 2017 sur France 5.

Documentaire

Débat

Les perturbateurs endocriniens, substances chimiques, sont présentes dans de nombreux objets de consommation courante : plastiques, résidus de pesticides sur les fruits et légumes, OGM, cosmétiques, lunettes, semelles de chaussures… Ils interagissent avec le système hormonal et seraient responsables de l’augmentation de certains cancers, selon des associations impliquées dans les problèmes de santé liés à l’environnement.

Sur le même sujet

Le Distilbène, Perturbateur Endocrinien

Potentially Harmful Flame Retardants Chemicals found on All Young Children studied in New York City homes

Prevalence of historical and replacement brominated flame retardant chemicals in homes

Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) within the Mailman School of Public Health report evidence of potentially harmful flame retardants on the hands and in the homes of 100 percent of a sample of New York City mothers and toddlers.

2017 Study Abstract

Background
Until their phase-out between 2005 and 2013, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were added to household products including furniture, rugs, and electronics to meet flammability standards. Replacement brominated flame retardant (BFR) chemicals, including 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5- tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and bis(2-ethylhexyl) 2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), which are components of the Firemaster 550® commercial mixture, are now being used to meet some flammability standards in furniture. The objective of this analysis was to evaluate the extent to which mothers and their children living in New York City are exposed to PBDEs, TBB, and TBPH.

Prevalence of historical and replacement brominated flame retardant chemicals in New York City homes, science direct, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.emcon.2017.01.001, 20 January 2017.

Image credit abbybatchelder.

Methods
We measured PBDEs, TBB, and TBPH using gas chromatography mass spectrometry in dust (n = 25) and handwipe (n = 11) samples collected between 2012 and 2013 from mothers and children living in New York City. We defined dust as enriched if the proportional distribution for a given BFR exceeded two-thirds of the total BFR content.

Results
We detected PBDEs and TBPH in 100% of dust and handwipe samples and TBB in 100% of dust samples and 95% of handwipe samples. Dust from approximately two-thirds of households was enriched for either PBDEs (n = 9) or for TBB + TBPH (n = 8). Overall, the median house dust concentration of TBB + TBPH (1318 ng/g dust) was higher than that of ΣPentaBDE (802 ng/g dust) and BDE-209 (1171 ng/g dust). Children generally had higher BFR handwipe concentrations compared to mothers (ΣPentaBDE: 73%, BDE-209: 64%, TBB + TBPH: 55%) and within households, BFR concentrations from paired maternal-child handwipes were highly correlated. Among mothers, we found a significant positive relation between house dust and handwipe BDE-209 and TBB + TBPH concentrations.

Conclusion
PBDEs, TBB and TBPH are ubiquitous in house dust and handwipes in a sample of mother-child pairs residing in New York City.

How to choose a child’s car seat without problematic chemicals

Flame Retardants and Other Chemicals in Children’s Car Seats

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Ecology Center has tested child car seats periodically for ten years, tracking changes in chemical additives. Car seats are a required product in which babies and children typically spend hours per day. The flame retardant (FR) chemicals historically used in car seats are known to be carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and developmental toxicants. Exposure occurs through contamination of air and dust. Safer alternatives are available, and while our testing has shown trends away from the worst chemicals, companies can do much better.

In fact, one company has answered our longtime call. Uppababy unveiled a new seat for 2017 specially designed to contain no added FRs. To our knowledge, the MESA Henry will be the first flame retardant-free car seat on the market, and its story and test results are included as a sidebar in this report.

In this study, we analyzed flame retardants and other chemicals in fifteen infant and toddler car seats purchased in 2016, including two from the United Kingdom. The brands are BabyTrend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Cosco, Diono, Evenflo, Graco (two models), Joie, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Orbit, Recaro, and Safety 1st. The seats represent a broad price range and about half were brands also tested by our team in 2014.

Three different analytical techniques were used: X-ray fluorescence, infrared spectroscopy, and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry.

It is to be understood throughout this report that 1) vehicle interiors are chemically flame-retarded to begin with and 2) that car seats provide vital crash protection, and children should always ride in a properly installed seat, regardless of chemical hazard.

Overall findings
  • Flame retardants were found in all 15 car seats, and for the first time were found to be in widespread use in the fabrics of car seats.
  • Most car seats still contain brominated flame retardants. Many companies are also using phosphorus-based flame retardants, including some not previously known to be used in car seats.
  • In 2017 a car seat marketed as free of flame retardants will be on the market produced by UPPAbaby. Our testing confirmed their claim.
  • Manufacturers have stopped using some flame retardants with known hazards, but the effects of the many of the substitutes are unknown.
Change is happening, yet all seats still contained flame retardant chemicals

Our study shows that the car seat industry continues to change its approach to meeting flammability standards.
The industry continues to shift away from halogenated FRs and to choose materials that allow flammability standards to be met without hazardous chemicals.
Currently, however, chemical flame retardants are still in widespread use in car seats. Highlights of the report:

  • For the first time no car seat contained chlorinated tris or other related FRs. This is a notable improvement compared to models from 2014, when the carcinogen chlorinated tris was found in 3 of 15 seats. Two of those brands, BabyTrend and Orbit, were retested for this report.
  • We detected FRs in all tested car seats (not including UPPAbaby), including the two seats purchased in England, Graco Milestone and Joie Stages.
  • Also for the first time since we started testing in 2006, no lead was detected in any seats. No other hazardous metals such as arsenic were detected, either, with the exception of antimony, which is likely present as a flame retardant synergist.
  • Unfortunately, brominated FRs remain in frequent use, this year detected in 13 of the 15 seats (87%). This is concerning, as brominated chemicals are typically persistent, bioaccumulative, and often toxic.
  • Two seats did not contain any brominated FRs (Maxi Cosi and Britax) and two seats contained brominated chemicals only in smaller components such as warning labels or Velcro, not in fabrics or foams (Clek and Orbit).
  • Phosphorus-based, halogen-free FRs were detected in all 15 seats. Eliminating halogens is important, but even halogen-free FRs must be thoroughly studied for health hazards. Some of the phosphorus FRs found in 2016 seats may pose a lower hazard, but we found health-related data to be lacking.
Materials matter: Both fabrics and foams are frequently treated with flame retardants

To our knowledge, this study represents the most detailed assessment to date of different material in car seats. Our analysis illustrates the importance of studying components other than polyurethane foams in upholstered products.

  • Fabrics have been studied a lot less than foams, so this year we tested over 160 fabric samples and found nearly one-third (32%) contained at least one FR.
  • A quarter (25%) of fabric samples contained a brominated FR.
  • 16% of fabric samples contained phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), including cyclic phosphonate esters and possibly ammonium polyphosphate. Although our study is the first, to our knowledge, to detect these FRs in car seat fabrics, these FRs have been available for many years. They are marketed as safer alternatives.
  • 73% of car seats had polyurethane foam containing phosphorus-based flame retardants. This likely represents an increase in the use of PFRs, as 50% of seats in 2014 contained PFRs. Of PFRs found in polyurethane foam, the majority were tris(butoxyethyl)phosphate, a possibly safer alternative than triphenyl phosphate.
  • Usage of triphenyl phosphate in the polyurethane foams of car seats appeared to decline compared to 2014.
  • With one exception (part of a plastic frame), hard plastic parts and belt straps did not contain detectable FRs.
  • Brominated FRs were found almost exclusively in polyester textiles (26%) and in rigid foams (43%), not in soft polyurethane foam. This finding is similar to the 2014 findings. Specific BFRs detected were 1) in fabrics: brominated styrenes, tris(bromopropyl) isocyanurates, and unidentified BFR; and 2) in polystyrene foam: brominated cyclododecanes (likely hexabromocyclododecane).
Flame-retardant free car seats are within reach

As long as car seats are subject to the federal flame standard for cars, the best approach is to redesign car seats so that hazardous chemicals are not necessary.

Our studies have shown manufacturers decreasing the use of chlorinated and brominated FRs in foams and increasing the use of halogen-free FRs. This is a step in the right direction. However, brominated FRs remain frequently used in car seat fabrics, and some of the halogen-free FRs such as triaryl phosphates pose health concerns as well. We now encourage companies to follow UPPAbaby’s lead by making a few material changes, such as using naturally fire-resistant wool, to avoid adding FRs.

Flammability regulations should be modified

While car seats can be designed to pass the flame test without chemical additives, this approach costs more money. Affordable car seats should not come with a chemical exposure cost.

Policy makers should consider exempting child car seats from the federal flammability standard FMVSS 302. Despite 44 years of this U.S. regulation, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can provide no evidence suggesting that the rule protects children in vehicle fires. FMVSS 302 has resulted in car seat makers adding thousands of pounds of chemical flame retardants to products that infants and children are in close contact with every day.

IMPORTANT NOTE

PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS SHOULD ALWAYS PROPERLY INSTALL AND USE A CAR SEAT appropriate for a child’s age and size, regardless of concerns about chemical hazards in the seat. This applies to older children as well as infants. Vehicle child restraint systems are essential for protecting children during car accidents. Between 1975 and 2014, as car seat usage skyrocketed, the number of infants dying in vehicle crashes dropped by 80%. The decline in deaths of children ages 1-3 was 73%, and ages 4-8 was 53%.

Parents should also be aware that the inside parts of a car, including the built-in seats, contain significant flame retardant additives.

More Information
  • Flame retardants and car seats? Still a thing, environmentalhealthnews, December 13, 2016.
  • TRAVELING WITH TOXICS, Flame Retardants & Other Chemicals in Children’s Car Seats, healthy-stuff; press release and Children’s Car Seat Study 2016 – Report.

Emerging, priority contaminants with endocrine active potentials in sediments, fish from the River Po, Italy

High levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in sediments and fish from the Italian River Po and its Lambro tributary

Researchers have recommended that fish from some sections of the River Po and the River Lambro, one of the Italian River Po tributaries, should not be eaten due to high levels of some endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the river sediments and fish. This recommendation is based on an extensive update regarding pollution levels of such substances in the rivers.

Abstract

There is a substantial lack of information on most priority pollutants, related contamination trends, and (eco)toxicological risks for the major Italian watercourse, the River Po. Targeting substances of various uses and origins, this study provides the first systematic data for the River Po on a wide set of priority and emerging chemicals, all characterized by endocrine-active potentials.

Flame retardants, natural and synthetic hormones, surfactants, personal care products, legacy pollutants, and other chemicals have been investigated in sediments from the River Po and its tributary, the River Lambro, as well as in four fish species from the final section of the main river. With few exceptions, all chemicals investigated could be tracked in the sediments of the main Italian river for tens or hundreds of kilometres downstream from the Lambro tributary.

Nevertheless, the results indicate that most of these contaminants, i.e., TBBPA, TCBPA, TBBPA-bis, DBDPE, HBCD, BPA, OP, TCS, TCC, AHTN, HHCB, and DDT, individually pose a negligible risk to the River Po. In contrast, PBDE, PCB, natural and synthetic estrogens, and to a much lower extent NP, were found at levels of concern either to aquatic life or human health. Adverse biological effects and prohibition of fish consumption deserve research attention and management initiatives, also considering the transport of contaminated sediments to transitional and coastal environments of the Italian river.

More Information
  • Emerging and priority contaminants with endocrine active potentials in sediments and fish from the River Po (Italy), US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Environmental science and pollution research international, NCBI PubMed PMID: 25956513, 2015 Sep.
  • High levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in sediments and fish from the Italian River Po and its Lambro tributary, Science for Environment Policy, January 2016.
  • Fishing Po image credit Edizonn.

Phthalates found in all urine samples of pregnant women tested in France

Bisphenol A was found in more than 70% of women tested

France’s biggest biomonitoring study has revealed traces of at least one endocrine disruptor in almost all 4,000 pregnant women surveyed.

The organic pollutants included in the study were bisphenol A, phthalates, pyrethroids (insecticides), dioxins, furans, PCBs, flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds.

Bisphenol A was found in more than 70% of women tested and almost all samples – 99.6% – had traces of phthalates. Samples from 208 women tested positive for at least one of the following substances: dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). All three substances, all of which are now banned, persist for a long time in the environment.

EDCs found in almost all urine samples of pregnant women tested in France, Health and Environment Alliance, December 2016.

The principle source of exposure cited in the study is through food consumption. Other routes of high exposure include indoor and outdoor air.

The results were at a slightly lower level than in previous studies. Decreases may be partly explained by the introduction of regulations (atrazine, dioxins, furans) and reduced use due to industrial developments (bisphenol A, certain phthalates and organophosphate pesticides).

The results of the current study will be supplemented with findings on metal contaminants. A third phase will provide public health decision makers with recommendations on pyrethroids (being used as substitutes for organophosphate pesticides) and PCBs.

Launch of the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative

The HBM4EU consortium included lead partners from each of the participating countries, as well as the EEA

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,
  • bisphenols,
  • per-/polyfluorinated compounds,
  • flame retardants,
  • cadmium and chromium,
  • PAHs,
  • 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.

More Information

  • The role of human biomonitoring in assessing and managing chemical risks, eea.europa.eu.
  • The initial prioritisation exercise and selected substances, eea.europa.eu.