Browsing Articles and other publications by RIVM employees by Subjects
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Development of Policy Relevant Human Biomonitoring Indicators for Chemical Exposure in the European Population.The European Union's 7th Environmental Action Programme (EAP) aims to assess and minimize environmental health risks from the use of hazardous chemicals by 2020. From this angle, policy questions like whether an implemented policy to reduce chemical exposure has had an effect over time, whether the health of people in specific regions or subpopulations is at risk, or whether the body burden of chemical substances (the internal exposure) varies with, for example, time, country, sex, age, or socio-economic status, need to be answered. Indicators can help to synthesize complex scientific information into a few key descriptors with the purpose of providing an answer to a non-expert audience. Human biomonitoring (HBM) indicators at the European Union (EU) level are unfortunately lacking. Within the Horizon2020 European Human Biomonitoring project HBM4EU, an approach to develop European HBM indicators was worked out. To learn from and ensure interoperability with other European indicators, 15 experts from the HBM4EU project (German Umweltbundesamt (UBA), Flemish research institute VITO, University of Antwerp, European Environment Agency (EEA)), and the World Health Organization (WHO), European Core Health Indicator initiative (ECHI), Eurostat, Swiss ETH Zurich and the Czech environmental institute CENIA, and contributed to a workshop, held in June 2017 at the EEA in Copenhagen. First, selection criteria were defined to evaluate when and if results of internal chemical exposure measured by HBM, need to be translated into a European HBM-based indicator. Two main aspects are the HBM indicator's relevance for policy, society, health, and the quality of the biomarker data (availability, comparability, ease of interpretation). Secondly, an approach for the calculation of the indicators was designed. Two types of indicators were proposed: 'sum indicators of internal exposure' derived directly from HBM biomarker concentrations and 'indicators for health risk', comparing HBM concentrations to HBM health-based guidance values (HBM HBGVs). In the latter case, both the percentage of the studied population exceeding the HBM HBGVs (PE) and the extent of exceedance (EE), calculated as the population's exposure level divided by the HBM HBGV, can be calculated. These indicators were applied to two examples of hazardous chemicals: bisphenol A (BPA) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which both have high policy and societal relevance and for which high quality published data were available (DEMOCOPHES, Swedish monitoring campaign). European HBM indicators help to summarize internal exposure to chemical substances among the European population and communicate to what degree environmental policies are successful in keeping internal exposures sufficiently low. The main aim of HBM indicators is to allow follow-up of chemical safety in Europe.
Physiology-based toxicokinetic modelling in the frame of the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative.Given the opportunities provided by internal dosimetry modelling in the interpretation of human biomonitoring (HBM) data, the assessment of the links between exposure to chemicals and observed HBM data can be effectively supported by PBTK modelling. This paper gives a comprehensive review of available human PBTK models for compounds selected as a priority by the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU). We highlight their advantages and deficiencies and suggest steps for advanced internal dose modelling. The review of the available PBTK models highlighted the conceptual differences between older models compared to the ones developed recently, reflecting commensurate differences in research questions. Due to the lack of coordinated strategies for deriving useful biomonitoring data for toxicokinetic properties, significant problems in model parameterisation still remain; these are further increased by the lack of human toxicokinetic data due to ethics issues. Finally, questions arise as well as to the extent they are really representative of interindividual variability. QSARs for toxicokinetic properties is a complementary approach for PBTK model parameterisation, especially for data poor chemicals. This approach could be expanded to model chemico-biological interactions such as intestinal absorption and renal clearance; this could serve the development of more complex generic PBTK models that could be applied to newly derived chemicals. Another gap identified is the framework for mixture interaction terms among compounds that could eventually interact in metabolism. From the review it was concluded that efforts should be shifted toward the development of generic multi-compartmental and multi-route models, supported by targeted biomonitoring coupled with parameterisation by both QSAR approach and experimental (in-vivo and in-vitro) data for newly developed and data poor compounds.