HBM4EU: The European Human Biomonitoring Initiative


The HBM4EU project aims to measure pollutants more efficiently. Therefore, HBM4EU focused on the development of a Europe-wide human biomonitoring, for which it cooperated with different countries and institutions. The aim is to ensure that not only at-risk groups but also people working in certain industrial sectors with higher chemical exposure are less affected by pollutants.

Project description

In their daily lives, people are exposed to a complex mixture of chemicals that they absorb from the environment, through consumer products, food, drinking water and at the workplace. Across Europe, unfortunately, there is little uniform and comparable data on people's exposure to pollutants. In particular, at-risk groups, such as children and pregnant women, as well as workers in certain industries, would benefit from better and uniform measurement of pollutants.

HBM4EU is a European research project involving 28 countries, the European Environment Agency and the European Commission. The aim of the project is to establish a Europe-wide network of human biomonitoring. This will improve and standardize the measurement of environmental chemicals, their metabolites and their occurrence in blood and urine. Current questions and problems of risk assessment of chemicals will also be investigated. HBM4EU draws on the scientific expertise of individual states while building capacity to establish a human biomonitoring platform at the EU level. The project is also a link between science and policy. Project findings will be disseminated to policy makers to enable targeted and effective policy action to reduce exposure to pollutants.


The HBM4EU project has developed, among other things, new methods and models to better estimate the uptake and effects of specific substances. In addition, chemical mixtures to which people are exposed on a daily basis were identified and studied. This will make it possible to reduce the exposure to pollutants in certain industrial sectors or with regard to risk groups. The results of the investigations are presented Europe-wide in a dashboard on the project's website.


The aim of the project is to be able to measure pollutants more efficiently and uniformly in order to be able to react to them accordingly. In this way, the chemical exposure of workers and risk groups can be reduced. To this end, methods have been developed to measure more efficiently how chemical substances are absorbed by and act in the human body.

Benefit of the project

The benefit of this project is to gain new knowledge about the risks of chemical exposure. As a result, exposure to chemical pollutants can be reduced. Both workers who are exposed to particularly high levels of pollutants due to their activities in certain industrial sectors and at-risk groups, such as children or pregnant women, will benefit from the measures to reduce exposure to pollutants.

Project details

Project acronym: HBM4EU

Project management: Federal Environment Agency Germany

Project leader AGES: Dipl. Ing. Johann Steinwider, Risk Assessment Department

Project partners: Various partners from 24 EU countries, as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Israel are participating in the HBM4EU project. More information about the individual project partners can be found on the project website.

Funding: The HBM4EU project is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 733032.

Project duration: 01/2017 to 06/2022


Plichta, V., Steinwider, J., Vogel, N., Weber, T., Kolossa-Gehring, M., Murínová, L. P., Wimmerová, S., Tratnik, JS., Horvat, M., Koppen, G., Govarts, E., Gilles, L., Rodriguez Martin, L., Schoeters, G., Covaci, A., Fillol, C., Rambaud, L., Jensen, T. K., Rauscher-Gabernig, E., 2022. Risk Assessment of Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Flame Retardants in Children by Using HBM-Data. Toxics 10(5), 234. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics10050234

Govarts, E., Gilles, L., Martin, L. R., Santonen, T., Apel P., Alvito, P., Anastasi, E., Andersen, H. R., Andersson, A.-M., Andryskova, L., Antignac, J.-P., Appenzeller, B., Barbone, F., Barnett-Itzhaki, Z., Barouki, R., Berman, T., Bil, W., Borges, T., Buekers, J., Cañas-Portilla, A., Covaci, A., Csako, Z., Den Hond, E., Dvorakova, D., Fabelova, L., Fletcher, T., Frederiksen, H., Gabriel, C., Ganzleben, C., Göen, T., Halldorsson, T. I., Haug, L. S., Horvat, M., Huuskonen, P., Imboden, M., Jagodic Hudobivnik, M., Janasik, B., Janev Holcer, N., Karakitsios, S., Katsonouri, A., Klanova, J., Kokaraki, V., Kold Jensen, T., Koponen, J., Laeremans, M., Laguzzi, F., Lange, R., Lemke, N., Lignell, S., Lindroos, A. K., Lobo Vicente, J., Luijten, M., Makris, K. C., Mazej, D. Melymuk, L., Meslin, M., Mol, H., Montazeri, P., Murawski, A., Namorado, S., Niemann, L., Nübler, S., Nunes, B., Olafsdottir, K., Murinova, L. P., Papaioannou, N., Pedraza-Diaz, S., Piler, P., Plichta, V., Poteser, M., Probst-Hensch, N., Rambaud, L., Rauscher-Gabernig, E., Rausova, K., Remy, S., Riou, M., Rosolen, V., Rousselle, C., Rüther, M., Sarigiannis, D., Silva, M. J., Šlejkovec, Z., Tratnik, J. S., Stajnko, A., Szigeti, T., Tarazona, J. V., Thomsen, C., Tkalec, Ž., Tolonen, H., Trnovec, T., Uhl, M., Van Nieuwenhuyse, A., Vasco, E., Verheyen, V. J., Viegas, S., Vinggaard, A. M., Vogel, N., Vorkamp, K., Wasowicz, W., Weber, T., Wimmerova, S., Woutersen, M., Zimmermann, P., Zvonar, M., Koch, H., Kolossa-Gehring, M., Esteban López, M., Castaño, A., Stewart, L., Sepai, O., Schoeters, G., 2023. Harmonized human biomonitoring in European children, teenagers and adults: EU-wide exposure data of 11 chemical substance groups from the HBM4EU Aligned Studies (2014–2021). International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Volume 249, 2023, 114119, ISSN 1438-4639, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2023.114119.

Santonen, T., Mahiout, S., Alvito, P., Apel, P., Bessems, J., Bil, W., Borges, T., Bose-O'Reilly, S., Buekers, J., Cañas Portilla, A. I., Castaño Calvo, A., de Alba González, M., Domínguez-Morueco, N., Esteban López, M., Falnoga, I., Gerofke, A., del Carmen González Caballero, M., Horvat, M., Huuskonen, P., Kadikis, N., Kolossa-Gehring, M., Lange, R., Louro, H., Martins, C., Meslin, M., Niemann, L., Pedraza Díaz, S., Plichta, V., Porras, S. P., Rousselle, C., Scholten, B., Silva, M. J., Šlejkovec, Z., Tratnik, J. S., Joksić, A. Š., Tarazona, J. V., Uhl, M., Van Nieuwenhuyse, A., Viegas, S., Vinggaard, A. M., Woutersen, M., Schoeters, G., 2023. How to use human biomonitoring in chemical risk assessment: Methodological aspects, recommendations, and lessons learned from HBM4EU. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Volume 249, 2023, 114139, ISSN 1438-4639, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2023.114139.

More information

Project website

Last updated: 07.09.2023

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