Concept of the Flemish human biomonitoring programme
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
International journal of hygiene and environmental health. - München
, p. 102-108
University of Antwerp
Since 2002 a human biomonitoring network has been established in Flanders (Belgium) as part of a programme on environmental health surveillance. The human biomonitoring network should support environmental health policy by identifying priorities for further action. The first cycle of the programme (20022006) confirmed the hypotheses that living in areas with different environmental pressure is reflected in different loads of environmental chemicals in the residents. In the second cycle of the programme (20072011) the number of environmental chemicals for which human biomonitoring data were obtained was expanded substantially. The goal of the Flemish programme is to use and translate the scientific results into policy actions. Its further orientation in the second cycle to human biomonitoring in hot spots and sensitive age groups or susceptible persons with underlying complications (e.g. persons with diabetes) are linked to these goals. Interaction with stakeholders is embedded in the programme emphasizing transparency of the choices that are made and direct communication. The Flemish human biomonitoring programme is organized centrally with major involvement of research partners from different disciplines which allows engrafting environmental health research on the programme. One of the major focuses is the question whether combinations of pollutants in the general population are associated with biological effects. The objective of this paper is to review and discuss the options that were taken in the human biomonitoring programme in order to achieve its goals.