In the framework of the 2004-2010 European Environment and Health action Plan and under the7th Framework Programme, the European Commission is preparing a project pilot on human biomonitoring (HBM). The project aim to measure pollutants in human tissues and fluid. The data can be used to fine tune or even launch environment and health policy, and allow policy makers to identify priorities. In this project NGOs play a important role
HBM calculates people’s real exposure to pollutants by taking samples of human tissue or fluids. This measuring and monitoring of pollutants in the body may be more relevant for risk assessment than statistically extrapolating from chemicals concentrations in soil, water, air and food.
HBM is the key to integrating human health considerations into the environmental health policy decision-making and evaluation process. The HBM will concentrate on capacity building in Europe, harmonising procedures, data interpretation and the sensitive issues of biomonitoring ethics or communication.
The Human Biomonitoring data opens the perspective of a health policy which takes into account geographical differences. The project also makes it possible to detect population groups with high levels of environmental exposure and lead to health strategies of better environmental equity.
National researcher institutions from over 20 member states have already agreed to join the Commission in this pilot project. The EU coordination of HBM activities should make for a more targeted and cost-efficient European environment and health policy.
NGOs are also active in the Human BioMonitoring project, in the European Commission project or in their own project, such as the Health and Environment Alliance, an EPHA member, with its Chemicals Health Monitor project.
This project has 4 key goals:
to support and increase NGO and wider public interest in the knowledge of and contributions to decisions on the health issues involved in the implementation of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), promoting the precautionary principle and the right-to-know in chemical policy;
to facilitate greater collaboration between environmental groups and the health and scientific community to bring new relevant evidence into the REACH procedures;
to highlight independent research; and
to support the substitution of hazardous chemicals.
The Health and Environment Alliance also launched a mailing list on Human Biomonitoring, open to all NGOs. This list provides HBM related information, and presents opportunity for exchange and strategic thinking in terms of information sharing and of policy specific content.
In terms of information sharing this list serve partly to exchange information and knowledge about current HBM activities in Europe and worldwide. This list also permits discussion on effective usage of HBM activities to support and evaluate policy measures and how they can contribute to raise knowledge on the effect of the environment on human health.
In terms of policy specific content this list partly aims to contribute to the EU pilot project on HBM (starting in 2008) as HEAL will become one of the main partners for stakeholder participation. This list also discusses how the new European law on chemicals, REACH implementation should (or should not) use HBM to drive priority hazardous chemicals through authorisation.
To get off this e-mail listserve, please, send an e-mail to Hana Kuncova, Health and Environment Alliance’s Chemicals Health Monitor Project Coordinator at: email@example.com