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Human Biomonitoring at Food Authorities

Human Biomonitoring as a Tool in Policy Making

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Human biomonitoring (HBM) can be defined as the systematic standardized measurement of a concentration of a substance or its metabolites in human tissues and is an important tool in evaluating exposure to chemicals. This report maps HBM studies performed at or initiated by food safety authorities in the Nordic countries and discuss problems and options for further work. The report shows that only few studies have been performed and it differs among the countries. Reasons for this could be that sampling blood and urine is demanding, there are ethical and privacy issues and analytical costs are high. More cooperation with researchers and between countries is needed. Food safety authorities have special responsibilities in cases of emergencies and disasters. In these cases HBM provides a good tool for exposure measurement but cooperation and infrastructure should be established beforehand.

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Discussion

In May 2014 a seminar with the topic “Human biomonitoring as a tool in policy making towards consumer safety” was held in Stockholm. The conclusion was that HBM provides a powerful tool in policy making both within food safety and nutrition (Lagerqvist et al., 2015). Traditionally authorities in the Nordic countries have not been using HBM in this work and the seminar was also a start of collaboration and harmonization. This report shows that only a few HBM studies are performed through the initiatives of authorities and there are differences between the Nordic countries. There might be several reasons for this e.g. sampling blood and urine is demanding, there are ethical and privacy issues and analytical costs are high.

English

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