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Title: Human biomonitoring as a tool for exposure assessment in industrially contaminated sites (Icss). lessons learned within the ics and health european network
Other Titles: Biomonitoraggio umano come strumento per valutare l’esposizione nei siti industriali contaminati. Lezioni apprese dal network europeo icshnet
Authors: Colles, Ann 
Ardeleanu, Elena-Roxana 
Candeias, Carla 
Ranzi, Andrea 
Demeter, Zoltán 
Hofer, Adam 
Kowalska, Malgorzata 
Makris, Konstantinos C. 
Arrebola, Juan Pedro 
Hough, Rupert Lloyd 
Pérez-Carrascosa, Francisco Miguel 
Iavarone, Ivano 
Martin-Olmedo, Piedad 
Kalantzi, Olga-Ioanna 
Ancona, Carla 
Pasetto, Roberto 
Fletcher, Tony J. 
Hoek, Gerard 
De Hoogh, Kees 
Major Field of Science: Medical and Health Sciences
Field Category: Health Sciences
Keywords: Biomarkers;Human biomonitoring;Human exposure;Industrially contaminated sites;Study design
Issue Date: Aug-2019
Source: Epidemiologia e prevenzione, 2019, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 249-259
Volume: 43
Issue: 4
Start page: 249
End page: 259
Journal: Epidemiologia e prevenzione 
Abstract: BACKGROUND: the mixed and complex nature of industrially contaminated sites (ICSs) leads to heterogeneity in exposure and health risk of residents living nearby. Health, environment, and social aspects are strongly interconnected in ICSs, and local communities are often concerned about potential health impact and needs for remediation. The use of human biomonitoring (HBM) for impact assessment of environmental exposure is increasing in Europe. The COST Action IS1408 on Industrially Contaminated Sites and Health Network (ICSHNet) decided to reflect on the potential and limitations of HBM to assess exposure and early health effects associated with living near ICSs. OBJECTIVES: to discuss challenges and lessons learned for addressing environmental health impact near ICSs with HBM in order to identify needs and priorities for HBM guidelines in European ICSs. METHODS: based on the experience of the ICSHNet research team, six case studies from different European regions that applied HBM at ICSs were selected. The case studies were systematically compared distinguishing four phases: the preparatory phase; study design; study results; the impact of the results at scientific, societal, and political levels. RESULTS: all six case studies identified opportunities and challenges for applying HBM in ICS studies. A smart choice of (a combination of) sample matrices for biomarker analysis produced information about relevant time-windows of ex posure, which matched with the activities of the ICSs. Combining biomarkers of exposure with biomarkers of (early) biological effects, data from questionnaires or environmental data enabled fine-tuning of the results and allowed for more targeted remediating actions aimed to reduce exposure. Open and transparent communication of study results with contextual information and involvement of local stakehold ers throughout the study helped to build confidence in the study results, gained support for remediating actions, and facilitated sharing of responsibilities. Using HBM in these ICS studies helped in setting priorities in policy actions and in further research. Limitations were the size of the study population, difficulties in recruiting vulnerable target populations, availability of validated biomarkers, and coping with exposure to mixtures of chemicals. CONCLUSIONS: based on the identified positive experiences and challenges, the paper concludes with formulating recommendations for a European protocol and guidance document for HBM in ICS. This could advance the use of HBM in local environmental health policy development and evaluation of exposure levels, and promote coordination and collaboration between researchers and risk managers.
ISSN: 2385-1937
DOI: 10.19191/EP19.4.A03.070
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Type: Article
Affiliation : VITO 
University of Bacǎu 
University of Porto 
University of Aveiro 
Environment and Energy of Emilia-Romagna 
National Public Health Institute 
Medical University of Silesia 
Cyprus University of Technology 
University of Granada 
CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública 
Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria de Granada 
James Hutton Institute 
Italian National Health Institute 
Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública 
University of the Aegean 
Lazio Regional Health Authority 
Public Health England 
Utrecht University 
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute 
University of Basel 
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