Biomonitoring Laboratory

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Biomonitoring Laboratory - Developing Capabilities for Analyzing Environmental Pollutants in Human Biosamples

Following an open Request for Proposals in 2016, which were reviewed by an international panel of experts, EHF established the first National Human Biomonitoring Laboratory in Israel in partnership with the Ministry of Health. The Human Biomonitoring Laboratory, which is part of the National Public Health Laboratory, began operation in 2018 and offers services to researchers, physicians and professionals in government ministries.

Developed and implemented methods: 

  • Measurement of cotinine in urine to ascertain passive exposure to smoking
  • Measurement of six common metabolites (dialkyl phosphates, DAPs) of organophosphate pesticides in urine
  • Measurement of the specific metabolite of the organophosphate pesticide Chlorpyrifos (3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol, TCPy) in urine
  • Measurement of the metals arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium, and thallium in urine

Plans for the development of additional measurement capabilities: 

  • Measurement of pyrethroid pesticide metabolites in urine
  • Measurement of metals in whole blood
  • Measurement of benzophenone in urine 

Human Biomonitoring (HBM) is a scientific technique that allows to assess whether and to what extent environmental pollutants have entered our bodies and how exposure to these pollutants may be changing over time. By measuring the concentration of environmental pollutants in body fluids (blood, urine) or tissues (hair, nails), biomonitoring can provide valuable information on environmental exposures and, in some cases, help in identifying potential health risks. HBM can provide information on the total exposure of an individual at a given time, as it adds together exposure from multiple sources and routes (e.g. air, water, food). 

Developing local capabilities to measure environmental pollutants in human biosamples not only provides information on exposure levels of the Israeli population, but also reduces the dependence of those conducting local biomonitoring studies on the costly analyses performed in laboratories abroad. 

The development of these capabilities at the National Public Health Laboratory is accompanied by an International Scientific Advisory Committee.

Committee members include:

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.


Scientific Advisory Committee’s Visit

The first visit of the Scientific Advisory Committee intended to evaluate the progress of the National Public Health Laboratory’s work to develop abilities to analyze environmental pollutants in human biosamples took place during February, 2019.
The Committee visited the National Public Health Laboratory’s facilities and met with the lab’s personnel. As part of the visit a workshop on biomonitoring entitled “Biomonitoring Workshop – Local and International Overview” was held. Participants in the workshop included the Committee members as well as professionals in the field of biomonitoring from Israel. 
For further details on the National Laboratory:

Dr. Efrat Rorman – Head of the Laboratory
69 Ben Zvi  St., P.O. Box 8255,  Tel Aviv-Yafo, 6108401, Israel
Phone: 03-5158686  Fax: 03-6826996