Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2017 Mar;220(2 Pt A):46-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Sep 20.

The added value of a surveillance human biomonitoring program: The case of FLEHS in Flanders (Belgium).

Author information

1
Environment & Health, Flemish Government, Environment, Nature and Energy Department, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: hans.reynders@lne.vlaanderen.be.
2
Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Dpt. Environmental Risk and Health, Mol, Belgium. Electronic address: ann.colles@vito.be.
3
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address: bert.morrens@uantwerpen.be.
4
Environment & Health, Flemish Government, Environment, Nature and Energy Department, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: maja.mampaey@lne.vlaanderen.be.
5
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address: dries.coertjens@uantwerpen.be.
6
Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Dpt. Environmental Risk and Health, Mol, Belgium. Electronic address: gudrun.koppen@vito.be.
7
Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Dpt. Environmental Risk and Health, Mol, Belgium. Electronic address: greet.schoeters@vito.be.
8
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address: ilse.loots@uantwerpen.be.
9
Flemish Ministry of Welfare, Public Health and Family, Flemish Agency for Care and Health, Environmental Health Section, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: hana.chovanova@wvg.vlaanderen.be.
10
Strategy and Coordination Division, Department of Economy, Science and Innovation, Flemish Government, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: wim.winderickx@ewi.vlaanderen.be.
11
Environment & Health, Flemish Government, Environment, Nature and Energy Department, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: karen.vancampenhout@lne.vlaanderen.be.

Abstract

Since 2002, the Flemish Government decided to carry out the Flemish Environment and Health Survey (FLEHS), an extended human biomonitoring (HBM) program, which is integrated in the environmental health policy. Through the FLEHS studies, a vast amount of data such as biomarkers of exposure and effect, exposure-effect associations, time trends and geographical differences, became available to the Flemish policy makers. In order to facilitate the policy interpretation, a phased action-plan was developed collaboratively by FLEHS researchers and policy makers. In this article we look back on more than 15 years of investments of the Flemish government in HBM and reflect on how this large scaled and challenging HBM-initiative contributed to shaping the environmental health policy in Flanders. We used the FLEHS I (2002-2006) and II (2007-2011) results on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and the resulting policy actions as an example to illustrate the added value of HBM for policy making. Policy measures for POPs, including source-related regulation (e.g. further optimization and tightening of existing Flemish legislation on open fires), investment in monitoring networks and communication and awareness campaigns, are presented and the added value for environmental health policy is discussed. We also reflect on how HBM can support science and innovation in the environmental monitoring context. Finally, we describe what society can gain from HBM in terms of opportunities for (1) feeding the political and societal debate, (2) stimulating community involvement and (3) empowering participants and citizens. All together, the gained insights and phased action plan showed that next to compliance with high scientific standards, results of the Flemish human biomonitoring campaign could be translated in targeted policy actions even for chemicals that have since long been regulated.

KEYWORDS:

Chlorinated POPs; FLEHS; Human biomonitoring; Phased action plan; Science-policy interface

PMID:
27692571
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.09.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center