Ministers press for quick progress on human biomonitoring

EU environment ministers have asked the Commission to press ahead with an EU pilot project that will test human blood for pollutants in support of environmental and health policy.

The conclusions on environment and health, adopted by the EU-27 environment ministers on 20 December urged the Commission to ensure adequate funding for the EU pilot project on human biomonitoring (HBM). The Commission is invited “to implement this project as early as possible […] to provide data to develop, adapt and evaluate environmental policies”. 

The European pilot project in human biomonitoring, launched in the framework of the EU Action Plan on Environment and Health 2004-2010, aims to measure pollutants in human tissue and fluid. The data can be used to support both environmental and public health policy and help policymakers to identify priorities.

The ministers also invited the Commission to support the development of a database on environment-related health problems to enable better understanding of “multi-cause environment and health relationships”. 

More generally, the EU executive was told to increase funding for research, demonstration and awareness programmes aimed at providing more effective prevention and responses to hazards and science-based decision-making.

Health issues highlighted by the ministers include “respiratory diseases, asthma and allergies, neurodevelopment disorders, cancer, and endocrine disrupter effects” which have been associated with chemical pollution.

These Council conclusions follow the Commission’s mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010, which reiterated the need for special attention to be given to vulnerable groups such as children and announced that the Commission will gradually step up its effort to exploit the outcomes of several research projects in order to translate their results into policy action.

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