Chemical prioritisation strategy in the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) – Development and results - Anses - Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail Access content directly
Journal Articles International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health Year : 2021

Chemical prioritisation strategy in the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) – Development and results


The European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU1) has established a European Union-wide human biomonitoring (HBM) programme to generate knowledge on human internal exposure to chemical pollutants and their potential health impacts in Europe, in order to support policy makers' efforts to ensure chemical safety and improve health in Europe. A prioritisation strategy was necessary to determine and meet the most important needs of both policy makers and risk assessors, as well as common national needs of participating countries and a broad range of stakeholders. This strategy consisted of three mains steps: 1) mapping of knowledge gaps identified by policy makers, 2) prioritisation of substances using a scoring system, and 3) generation of a list of priority substances reflective of the scoring, as well as of public policy priorities and available resources. For the first step, relevant ministries and agencies at EU and national levels, as well as members of the Stakeholder Forum each nominated up to 5 substances/substance groups of concern for policy-makers. These nominations were collated into a preliminary list of 48 substances/substance groups, which was subsequently shortened to a list of 23 after considering the total number of nominations each substance/substance group received and the nature of the nominating entities. For the second step, a panel of 11 experts in epidemiology, toxicology, exposure sciences, and occupational and environmental health scored each of the substances/substance groups using prioritisation criteria including hazardous properties, exposure characteristics, and societal concern. The scores were used to rank the 23 substances/substance groups. In addition, substances were categorised according to the level of current knowledge about their hazards, extent of human exposure (through the availability of HBM data), regulatory status and availability of analytical methods for biomarker measurement. Finally, in addition to the ranking and categorisation of the substances, the resources available for the project and the alignment with the policy priorities at European level were considered to produce a final priority list of 9 substances/substance groups for research activities and surveys within the framework of the HBM4EU project.
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Dates and versions

anses-03261867 , version 1 (16-06-2021)



Eva Ougier, Catherine Ganzleben, Pierre Lecoq, Jos Bessems, Madlen David, et al.. Chemical prioritisation strategy in the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) – Development and results. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 2021, 236, pp.113778. ⟨10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113778⟩. ⟨anses-03261867⟩


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