Human biomonitoring and policy making

Human biomonitoring as a tool in policy making towards consumer safety

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This report is based on the seminar “Human biomonitoring (HBM) as a tool in policy making towards consumer safety” directed towards professionals involved in HBM programs, legislators and other policy-makers, risk assessors as well as researchers from universities and other higher educational institutions. It was organized by the Swedish National Food Agency in collaboration with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the University of Iceland, and Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Experts from Europe, USA, and Canada within the field of HBM participated. It was agreed that HBM provides a powerful tool in policy making towards consumer safety. It was also concluded that there is interest to develop the Nordic collaborative efforts within the area of HBM and that there would, unquestionably, be benefits from this in terms of harmonization.




Humans are exposed to many different industrial chemicals as well as natural substances and trace elements with toxic potential. The level of awareness concerning the burden of this exposure has recently been raised. This introduces an increasing need to monitor human samples for assessment of exposure to a large number of hazardous compounds, where human biomonitoring (HBM) is a crucial tool. Some of these compounds can exert long-term health effects such as hormonal disruption, impairment of brain development and increased cancer incidence. Pregnant women, fetuses, infants and children are especially vulnerable groups. The need to keep the field of HBM in constant development is therefore crucial, to ensure that it is possible to follow time-trends and have updated information on exposure levels in humans and wildlife. HBM can then be used as a warning system to indicate increasing exposures. Moreover, HBM is considered an essential tool when it comes to assessment of health- and nutritional status. The results from HBM also form a solid platform for decision making and legislation when it comes to risk- and benefit assessment. It also supplies valuable information for the general public about risks coming from chemicals exposure. These advantages are even more powerful if there are strong collaboration efforts between countries and ensurance of harmonization between different studies of the same kind.


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