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Choi J.,BiPRO GmbH | Knudsen L.E.,Copenhagen University | Mizrak S.,Copenhagen University | Joas A.,BiPRO GmbH
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health | Year: 2016

Human biomonitoring (HBM) provides the tools for exposure assessment by direct measurements of biological specimens such as blood and urine. HBM can identify new chemical exposures, trends and changes in exposure, establish distribution of exposure among the general population, and identify vulnerable groups and populations with distinct exposures such as children and older adults. The objective of this review is to demonstrate the use of HBM to identify environmental chemicals that might be of concern for children or older adults due to higher body burden. To do so, an extensive literature search was performed, and using a set of defined criteria, ten large-scale, cross-sectional national HBM programs were selected for data review and evaluation. A comparative analysis of the age-stratified data from these programs and other relevant HBM studies indicated twelve chemicals/classes of chemicals with potentially higher body burden in children or older adults. Children appear to have higher body burden of bisphenol A (BPA), some phytoestrogens, perchlorate, and some metabolites of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and benzene. On the other hand, older adults appear to have higher body burden of heavy metals and organochlorine pesticides. For perfluoroalkyl substances, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, parabens, and phthalates, both children and older adults have higher body burden depending on the specific biomarkers analyzed, and this might be due to the exposure period and/or sources from different countries. Published data from the DEMOCOPHES project (a pilot study to harmonize HBM efforts across Europe) also showed elevated exposures to BPA and some phthalate metabolites in children across several European countries. In summary, age-stratified HBM data can provide useful knowledge of identifying environmental chemicals that might be of concern for children and older adults, which, combined with additional efforts to identify potential sources of exposure, could assist policy makers in prioritizing their actions in order to reduce chemical exposure and potential risks of adverse health effects. © 2016 Elsevier GmbH.


Economic instruments provide significant potential for countries with low municipal waste management performance in decreasing landfill rates and increasing recycling rates for municipal waste. In this research, strengths and weaknesses of landfill tax, pay-as-you-throw charging systems, deposit-refund systems and extended producer responsibility schemes are compared, focusing on conditions in countries with low waste management performance. In order to prioritise instruments for implementation in these countries, the analytic hierarchy process is applied using results of a literature review as input for the comparison. The assessment reveals that pay-as-you-throw is the most preferable instrument when utility-related criteria are regarded (wb = 0.35; analytic hierarchy process distributive mode; absolute comparison) mainly owing to its waste prevention effect, closely followed by landfill tax (wb = 0.32). Deposit-refund systems (wb = 0.17) and extended producer responsibility (wb = 0.16) rank third and fourth, with marginal differences owing to their similar nature. When cost-related criteria are additionally included in the comparison, landfill tax seems to provide the highest utility-cost ratio. Data from literature concerning cost (contrary to utility-related criteria) is currently not sufficiently available for a robust ranking according to the utility-cost ratio. In general, the analytic hierarchy process is seen as a suitable method for assessing economic instruments in waste management. Independent from the chosen analytic hierarchy process mode, results provide valuable indications for policy-makers on the application of economic instruments, as well as on their specific strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, the instruments need to be put in the country-specific context along with the results of this analytic hierarchy process application before practical decisions are made. © The Author(s) 2016.


Becker K.,Federal Environment Agency UBA | Seiwert M.,Federal Environment Agency UBA | Casteleyn L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Joas R.,BiPRO GmbH | And 15 more authors.
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health | Year: 2014

The objective of COPHES (Consortium to Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale) was to develop a harmonised approach to conduct human biomonitoring on a European scale. COPHES developed a systematic approach for designing and conducting a pilot study for an EU-wide cross-sectional human biomonitoring (HBM) study and for the implementation of the fieldwork procedures. The approach gave the basis for discussion of the main aspects of study design and conduct, and provided a decision making tool which can be applied to many other studies. Each decision that had to be taken was listed in a table of options with their advantages and disadvantages. Based on this the rationale of the decisions could be explained and be transparent. This was important because an EU-wide HBM study demands openness of all decisions taken to encourage as many countries as possible to participate and accept the initiative undertaken.Based on this approach the following study design was suggested: a cross-sectional study including 120 children aged 6-11 years and their mothers aged up to 45 years from each participating country. For the pilot study the children should be sampled in equal shares in an urban and a rural location. Only healthy children and mothers (no metabolic disturbances) should be included, who have a sufficient knowledge of the local language and have been living at least for 5 years at the sampling location. Occupational exposure should not be an exclusion criterion. Recruitment should be performed via inhabitant registries or schools as an alternative option. Measures suitable to increase the response rate should be applied. Preferably, the families should be visited at home and interviewed face-to-face. Various quality control measures to guarantee a good fieldwork performance were recommended.This comprehensive overview aims to provide scientists, EU officials, partners and stakeholders involved in the EU implementation process full transparency of the work carried out in COPHES. Thus this report presents the discussion and consensus in COPHES on the main aspects of designing and conducting fieldwork of a human biomonitoring study. Furthermore, it provides an example for a systematic approach that may be useful to other research groups or pan-European research initiatives. In the study protocol that will be published elsewhere these aspects are elaborated and additional aspects are covered (Casteleyn et al., 2012). Meanwhile the respective pilot study DEMOCOPHES had been conducted and assessed. The results and lessons learned will be published elsewhere. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH.


Joas R.,BiPRO GmbH | Casteleyn L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Biot P.,FPS Health | Kolossa-Gehring M.,Federal Environment Agency | And 8 more authors.
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health | Year: 2012

Human biomonitoring (HBM) can be an effective tool to assess human exposure to environmental pollutants and potential health effects and is increasingly seen as an essential element in a strategy when integrating health and environment. HBM can be used (i) to prioritise actions and measures for policy making; (ii) to evaluate policy actions aimed at reducing exposure to potentially hazardous environmental stressors; and (iii) to promote more comprehensive health impact assessments of policy options.In support of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010, European scientists, experts from authorities and other stakeholders joined forces to work towards developing a functional framework and standards for a coherent HBM in Europe.Within the European coordination action on human biomonitoring, 35 partners from 27 European countries in the COPHES consortium aggregated their experiences and expertise and developed harmonized approaches and recommendations for better comparability of HBM data in Europe via the elaboration of a harmonized study protocol. This protocol is the product of discussion and compromises on the selection of environmental exposures, national environmental health concerns, and political and health priorities. The harmonised approach includes sampling recruitment, and analytical procedures, communication strategies and biobanking initiatives. The protocols and the harmonised approach are a means to increase acceptance and policy support and to in the future to enable determination of time trends.The common pilot study protocol will shortly be tested, adapted and assessed in the framework of the DEMOCOPHES in 17 European countries, including 16 EU Member States.COPHES and DEMOCOPHES constitute important steps towards establishing human biomonitoring as a tool for EU environmental and health policy and to improve quantification of exposure of the general European population to existing and emerging pollutants. © 2011.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2009.1.2.3.1 | Award Amount: 5.07M | Year: 2009

This proposal has been elaborated by a consortium of 35 partners coming from 27 European countries and including scientists, government institutions and authorities, NGOs and industry. The main goal is to develop a coherent approach to HBM in Europe as requested by ACTION 3 of the EU Environment and Health Action Plan through coordination of ongoing and planned HBM activities. The project will exploit existing and planned HBM projects and programmes of work and capabilities in Europe. The consortium will investigate what is needed to advance and improve comparability of HBM data across Europe. Work prepared under DG Research and DG Environment activities dealing with development, validation and use of novel biomarkers including non-invasive markers and effect markers will be exploited. Through close collaboration with similar initiatives in the field of Health - such as the EU Health Examination Survey - appropriate economies and efficiencies will be assessed. Key issues such as Ethics and human Biobanks will be addressed. The project will deliver a number of key outputs including: 1. Tested Proofs of Concept and/or Demonstration project assessing the feasibility of a coordinated approach, including strategies for data interpretation & integration with environmental and health data. 2. A rationale and strategy for communication and dissemination of information, results and key messages to all stakeholders from the public to policy makers 3. Training and capacity building will aim to promote knowledge and experience exchange and development in the field of HBM within Europe A common understanding within all parties involved on the potential of HMB in supporting and evaluating current/future policy making (including e.g. REACH) and for environmental health awareness raising will be promoted This project aim is to significantly advance the process towards a fully operational, continuous, sustainable and scientifically sound EU HBM programme.


PubMed | BiPRO GmbH
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Waste management & research : the journal of the International Solid Wastes and Public Cleansing Association, ISWA | Year: 2016

Economic instruments provide significant potential for countries with low municipal waste management performance in decreasing landfill rates and increasing recycling rates for municipal waste. In this research, strengths and weaknesses of landfill tax, pay-as-you-throw charging systems, deposit-refund systems and extended producer responsibility schemes are compared, focusing on conditions in countries with low waste management performance. In order to prioritise instruments for implementation in these countries, the analytic hierarchy process is applied using results of a literature review as input for the comparison. The assessment reveals that pay-as-you-throw is the most preferable instrument when utility-related criteria are regarded (wb=0.35; analytic hierarchy process distributive mode; absolute comparison) mainly owing to its waste prevention effect, closely followed by landfill tax (wb=0.32). Deposit-refund systems (wb=0.17) and extended producer responsibility (wb=0.16) rank third and fourth, with marginal differences owing to their similar nature. When cost-related criteria are additionally included in the comparison, landfill tax seems to provide the highest utility-cost ratio. Data from literature concerning cost (contrary to utility-related criteria) is currently not sufficiently available for a robust ranking according to the utility-cost ratio. In general, the analytic hierarchy process is seen as a suitable method for assessing economic instruments in waste management. Independent from the chosen analytic hierarchy process mode, results provide valuable indications for policy-makers on the application of economic instruments, as well as on their specific strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, the instruments need to be put in the country-specific context along with the results of this analytic hierarchy process application before practical decisions are made.


PubMed | Karolinska Institutet, National Institute of Public Health NIPH, Hainaut Vigilance Sanitaire HVS and Hygiene Publique in Hainaut HPH, Jozef Stefan Institute and 22 more.
Type: | Journal: Environmental research | Year: 2015

Within the European Environment and Health Action Plan an initiative to establish a coherent human biomonitoring approach in Europe was started. The project COPHES (COnsortium to Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale ) developed recommendations for a harmonized conduct of a human biomonitoring (HBM) survey which came into action as the pilot study DEMOCOPHES (DEMOnstration of a study to COordinate and Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale). Seventeen European countries conducted a survey with harmonized instruments for, inter alia, recruitment, fieldwork and sampling, in autumn/winter 2011/2012. Based on the countries experiences of conducting the pilot study, following lessons learnt were compiled: the harmonized fieldwork instruments (basic questionnaire, urine and hair sampling) turned out to be very valuable for future HBM surveys on the European scale. A school approach was favoured by most of the countries to recruit school-aged children according to the established guidelines and country specific experiences. To avoid a low participation rate, intensive communication with the involved institutions and possible participants proved to be necessary. The communication material should also include information on exclusion criteria and offered incentives. Telephone contact to the participants the day before fieldwork during the survey can prevent the forgetting of appointments and first morning urine samples. To achieve comparable results on the European scale, training of interviewers in all issues of recruitment, fieldwork and sampling through information material and training sessions is crucial. A survey involving many European countries needs time for preparation and conduct. Materials for quality control prepared for all steps of recruitment, fieldwork and sampling proved to be important to warrant reliable results.


PubMed | Karolinska Institutet, Jozef Stefan Institute, Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic, Health Service Executive and 22 more.
Type: | Journal: Environmental research | Year: 2015

A communication strategy was developed by The Consortium to Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale (COPHES), as part of its objectives to develop a framework and protocols to enable the collection of comparable human biomonitoring data throughout Europe. The framework and protocols were tested in the pilot study DEMOCOPHES (Demonstration of a study to Coordinate and Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale). The aims of the communication strategy were to raise awareness of human biomonitoring, encourage participation in the study and to communicate the study results and their public health significance. It identified the audiences and key messages, documented the procedure for dissemination of results and was updated as the project progressed. A communication plan listed the tools and materials such as press releases, flyers, recruitment letters and information leaflets required for each audience with a time frame for releasing them. Public insight research was used to evaluate the recruitment material, and the feedback was used to improve the documents. Dissemination of results was coordinated in a step by step approach by the participating countries within DEMOCOPHES, taking into account specific national messages according to the needs of each country. Participants received individual results, unless they refused to be informed, along with guidance on what the results meant. The aggregate results and policy recommendations were then communicated to the general public and stakeholders, followed by dissemination at European level. Several lessons were learnt that may assist other future human biomonitoring studies. Recruitment took longer than anticipated and so social scientists, to help with community engagement, should be part of the research team from the start. As a European study, involving multiple countries, additional considerations were needed for the numerous organisations, different languages, cultures, policies and priorities. Therefore, communication documents should be seen as templates with essential information clearly indicated and the option for each country to tailor the material to reflect these differences. Future studies should consider setting up multidisciplinary networks of medical professionals and communication experts, and holding training workshops to discuss the interpretation of results and risk communication. Publicity and wide dissemination of the results helped to raise awareness of human biomonitoring to the general public, policy makers and other key stakeholders. Effective and timely communication, at all stages of a study, is essential if the potential of human biomonitoring research to improve public health is to be realised.


Moser F.,University of Ferrara | Jakl T.,Federal Ministry for Agriculture | Joas R.,BiPRO GmbH | Dondi F.,University of Ferrara
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2014

Chemical Leasing is a service-oriented business model that shifts the focus from increasing sales volume of chemicals towards a value-added approach. Recent pilot projects have shown the economic benefits of introducing Chemical Leasing business models in a broad range of sectors. A decade after its introduction, the promotion of Chemical Leasing is still predominantly done by the public sector and international organizations. We show in this paper that awareness-raising activities to disseminate information on this innovative business model mainly focus on the economic benefits. We argue that selling Chemical Leasing business models solely on the grounds of economic and ecological considerations falls short of branding it as a corporate social responsibility initiative, which, for this paper, is defined as a stakeholder-oriented concept that extends beyond the organization’s boundaries and is driven by an ethical understanding of the organization’s responsibility for the impact of its business activities. For the analysis of Chemical Leasing business models, we introduce two case studies from the water purification and metal degreasing fields, focusing on employees and local communities as two specific stakeholder groups of the company introducing Chemical Leasing. The paper seeks to demonstrate that Chemical Leasing business models can be branded as a corporate social responsibility initiative by outlining the vast potential of Chemical Leasing to improve occupational health and safety and to strengthen the ability of companies to protect the environment from the adverse effects of the chemicals they apply. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Zhao J.,Tsinghua University | Joas R.,BiPRO GmbH | Abel J.,BiPRO GmbH | Marques T.,Industry and Economics | Suikkanen J.,Industry and Economics
Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries | Year: 2013

While process safety regulations and standards have been in place in western countries for more than two decades, China has only recently started to officially embrace these issues with the adoption of its Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation AQ/T 3034-2010 (SAWS, 2010). However, compliance with this regulatory framework requires substantial resources and may therefore appear too complex to be efficiently implemented by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the chemical sector. This is of particular relevance as about 99% of chemical companies in China are SMEs, accounting for more than 80% of all chemical accidents. To address this issue, additional local regulations and planning activities related to process safety have been implemented in China, including the establishment of hundreds of chemical industry parks. Some of the process safety problems faced by chemical industry parks are identified and discussed in this paper. To help solve these problems, UNEP's "Responsible Production approach for Chemical Hazards Management along the Value-Chain" is introduced in this paper and suggested as a simplified PSM approach targeted specifically at SMEs which, regardless of handling hazardous chemicals in their daily operations, may not have the knowledge or capacity to efficiently implement PSM and may not fall in the scope of the PSM regulation AQ/T 3034-2010. By introducing PSM to SMEs in a more manageable way, relevant steps can be progressively implemented by companies towards full compliance with the current regulatory framework, contributing to increased safety in chemical industry parks in China. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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