Journal: Environment International, vol. 168, 107476, 2022
Human biomonitoring (HBM) is a crucial approach for exposure assessment, as emphasised in the European Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS). HBM can help to improve chemical policies in five major key areas: (1) assessing internal and aggregate exposure in different target populations; 2) assessing exposure to chemicals across life stages; (3) assessing combined exposure to multiple chemicals (mixtures); (4) bridging regulatory silos on aggregate exposure; and (5) enhancing the effectiveness of risk management measures.
In this strategy paper we propose a vision and a strategy for the use of HBM in chemical regulations and public health policy in Europe and beyond. We outline six strategic objectives and a roadmap to further strengthen HBM approaches and increase their implementation in the regulatory risk assessment of chemicals to enhance our understanding of exposure and health impacts, enabling timely and targeted policy interventions and risk management. These strategic objectives are: 1) further development of sampling strategies and sample preparation; 2) further development of chemical-analytical HBM methods; 3) improving harmonisation throughout the HBM research life cycle; 4) further development of quality control / quality assurance throughout the HBM research life cycle; 5) obtain sustained funding and reinforcement by legislation; and 6) extend target-specific communication with scientists, policymakers, citizens and other stakeholders.
HBM approaches are essential in risk assessment to address scientific, regulatory and societal challenges. HBM requires full and strong support from the scientific and regulatory domain to reach its full potential in public and occupational health assessment and in regulatory decision-making.