A harmonized approach for human biomonitoring on the European level: COPHES and DEMOCOPHES twin projects

In the EU significant efforts are made to collect biomarker data in environmental health. However, the activities are often fragmented and results cannot be sufficiently compared. The main goal of the COPHES project is to develop a harmonized approach for human biomonitoring (HBM) on the European level as requested by Action 3 of the EU Environment and Health Action Plan. Within this scope a pilot study (DEMOCOPHES) was performed to demonstrate the feasibility and usefulness of an EU harmonised approach to HBM. 16 EU Member states and one other European country, being also part of COPHES used the harmonised guideline protocol prepared by COPHES to perform the pilot study. Important elements of the projects were means of quality assurance and control systems for chemical analysis and data management, training on fieldwork, data management and communication, as well as discussion documents for communication to policy makers.

COPHES: COnsortium to Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale

DEMOCOPHES: DEMOnstration of a study to COordinate and Perform Human biomonitoring on a European Scale

Contact person

Marika Berglund

Affiliated to research


  • EU FP7
  • EU Life+
  • Swedish Environmental Protection Agency


First steps toward harmonized human biomonitoring in Europe: demonstration project to perform human biomonitoring on a European scale.
Den Hond E, Govarts E, Willems H, Smolders R, Casteleyn L, Kolossa-Gehring M, et al
Environ. Health Perspect. 2015 Mar;123(3):255-63

Exposure determinants of cadmium in European mothers and their children.
Berglund M, Larsson K, Grandér M, Casteleyn L, Kolossa-Gehring M, Schwedler G, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():69-76

Exposure determinants of phthalates, parabens, bisphenol A and triclosan in Swedish mothers and their children.
Larsson K, Ljung Björklund K, Palm B, Wennberg M, Kaj L, Lindh CH, et al
Environ Int 2014 Dec;73():323-33

The European COPHES/DEMOCOPHES project: towards transnational comparability and reliability of human biomonitoring results.
Schindler BK, Esteban M, Koch HM, Castano A, Koslitz S, Cañas A, et al
Int J Hyg Environ Health 2014 Jul;217(6):653-61

Urinary BPA measurements in children and mothers from six European member states: Overall results and determinants of exposure.
Covaci A, Den Hond E, Geens T, Govarts E, Koppen G, Frederiksen H, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():77-85

Lessons learnt on recruitment and fieldwork from a pilot European human biomonitoring survey.
Fiddicke U, Becker K, Schwedler G, Seiwert M, Joas R, Joas A, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():15-23

Gender differences in cadmium and cotinine levels in prepubertal children.
Fucic A, Plavec D, Casteleyn L, Aerts D, Biot P, Katsonouri A, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():125-31

Policy recommendations and cost implications for a more sustainable framework for European human biomonitoring surveys.
Joas A, Knudsen LE, Kolossa-Gehring M, Sepai O, Casteleyn L, Schoeters G, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():42-57

Interpreting biomarker data from the COPHES/DEMOCOPHES twin projects: Using external exposure data to understand biomarker differences among countries.
Smolders R, Den Hond E, Koppen G, Govarts E, Willems H, Casteleyn L, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():86-95

A pilot study on the feasibility of European harmonized human biomonitoring: Strategies towards a common approach, challenges and opportunities.
Casteleyn L, Dumez B, Becker K, Kolossa-Gehring M, Den Hond E, Schoeters G, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():3-14

Communication in a Human biomonitoring study: Focus group work, public engagement and lessons learnt in 17 European countries.
Exley K, Cano N, Aerts D, Biot P, Casteleyn L, Kolossa-Gehring M, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():31-41

Fish consumption patterns and hair mercury levels in children and their mothers in 17 EU countries.
Castaño A, Cutanda F, Esteban M, Pärt P, Navarro C, Gómez S, et al
Environ. Res. 2015 Aug;141():58-68