Biomonitoring Laboratory - Developing Capabilities for Analyzing Environmental Pollutants in Human Biosamples
The strongest case for reducing human exposure to environmental pollutants can be made when we not only have information about the levels of pollution in the environment, but also about the levels of pollution in people. Analyzing environmental pollutants in human biological samples (biomonitoroing) has many uses in environmental health, including the assessment of individual exposure to environmental chemicals, identifying changes at the cellular or molecular level before a clinical diagnosis, setting permissible exposure levels of the general population, comparing the exposure to chemicals among different populations and evaluating the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing public exposure to certain chemicals. Such data can help not only in setting priorities for improving policy but also have been shown to be effective in raising public awareness. National biomonitoring programs have been implemented in many countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Belgium and Germany. Similar to most European countries, there is no legislation in Israel that requires biomonitoring in the general population but there have been a number of biomonitoring studies that have been carried out in recent years and in 2016 the first government biomonitoring survey was conducted by the Ministry of Health as part of the National Health and Nutrition Survey (MABAT).
Currently, information on exposure levels of the Israeli population from biomonitoring data is limited by the costly analyses performed in laboratories abroad. It is essential to have local laboratories that are able to perform these analyses. This entails developing capabilities for analyzing environmental pollutants in human biosamples. Development of such capabilities will be accompanied by an international Scientific Advisory Committee, including :
• Dr. Antonia Calafat, Chief of the Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch at the Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, USA
• Professor Thomas Göen, Director of Laboratory, Institute for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (IPASUM), Erlangen, Germany
• Dr. Holger Koch, Scientific Head of the Human Biomonitoring Laboratories at the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine (IPA) of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany