A review on the practical application of human biomonitoring in integrated environmental health impact assessment

Roel Smolders, Karl Werner Schramm, Ulla Stenius, James Grellier, Aneire Kahn, Tomas Trnovec, Radim Sram, Greet Schoeters

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Environmental health sciences focus on the link between the presence of contaminants in the environment and their relation with possible adverse health effects. Within this context, human biomonitoring (HBM) data have proven to be a valuable addition to, or have even surpassed, estimates of exposure based on environmental measures. Probably the main achievement of HBM data is that it provides an integrated overview of the pollutant dose any constituent is exposed to and incorporates bioaccumulation, excretion, half-life, and other potentially critical toxicokinetic parameters. In an integrated environmental health impact assessment framework, HBM serves as a pivotal point between environment and health, on the one hand leaning on environmental data to provide information on sources and pathways of exposure, and on the other hand clarifying hypotheses on the relationship between internal dose and prevalence of disease clusters. This study reflects the work performed in the INTARESE project (Integrated Assessment of Health Risk of Environmental Stressors in Europe). Because it was perceived that there was an overall lack of knowledge on the general methodology and potential application of HBM data in integrated environmental health impact assessment, an extensive review of literature was performed on past and current developments, potential, and applicability of HBM within the context of integrated environmental health impact assessment. This study covers three main topics that provide guidance for improved interpretation and application of HBM data: (1) sample collection and storage, (2) sample measurement, and (3) data interpretation. These main issues were discussed for 15 of the most common or relevant (classes of) chemicals. For more detailed information, the reader is pointed to the unabridged review (INTARESE, 2007), and consultation is available through the INTARESE web site (www.intarese.org).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-123
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part B: Critical Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


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