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EU Human Bio-Monitoring initiative launched

The “European Human Biomonitoring Initiative" (HBM4EU) was launched at a conference and stakeholder meeting in Brussels on 8-9 December 2016. HEAL was present both days and gave a presentation on “Human biomonitoring to inform and empower citizens” at the stakeholder meeting.

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 aim of the 74 million Euro project is “to provide better evidence in support of policy making”. Information on the national organisations participating in the consortium and the geographical coverage 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.

Both Génon Jensen and Lisette van Vliet from HEAL put questions to the conference: one on plans for informing citizens with the results of the biomonitoring and on reaching the media and the other on the need for NGO funding for involvement in the project.

Caption: Lisette van Vliet from HEAL speaking about how the EU biomonitoring tool could be used to inform and empower citizens. Photo courtesy of WECF International.

At the half-day stakeholder consultation on 9 December, Lisette van Vliet spoke in the main session about how the EU biomonitoring tool could be used to inform and empower citizens. The presentations were followed by break-out groups on research and stakeholder expectations. Further meetings with stakeholders will accompany annual work plans.

HEAL has accepted the role of informal coordinator on human biomonitoring for NGOs working on chemicals as a result of its long involvement in promoting human biomonitoring for better health and environmental policy. More information on HEAL’s activities in biomonitoring can be found here. In 2006, HEAL published a report on mercury and health called “Halting the child brain drain: Why we need to tackle global mercury contamination” that included results of a small-scale biomonitoring programme, which has since served as a model for other public interest mercury monitoring. This initiative helped push health to the centre of international discussions on mercury.

Originally posted on 19 December 2016

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