Quite a few environmental disturbances and some health problems are due to the presence of chemical substances in our environment. Both on the European and the national level, there are laws to limit the risks of the production and use of chemical substances for the environment and health. The coordinating legislation concerned is the European regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemical Substances (REACH). You will find more information on Reach and on the specific regulation in the section “Chemical substances”.

The presence of quite a number of chemical substances in the environment (water, air, soil…) is followed up by several measuring programs.

The presence of some chemical substances in the human body can be examined through human biomonitoring. By measuring these substances in hair, nails, urine, blood or other tissues, one tries to find a connection between the quantity of chemical substances in our body and our way of living, the environment, occupation, age,…

DEMOCOPHES is a European project, coordinated by the FPS HFCSE, in which 17 countries, including Belgium, test whether a biomonitoring program in the European Union as support for this policy is feasible. With almost 4,000 participants, mercury in the head hair and cadmium, cotinine (coming from tobacco smoke), phthalates and bisphenol A (plastic components) in the urine were measured. The goal is to collect mutually comparable biomonitoring data, so as to, on the one hand, be able to evaluate the efficacy of policy measures, and on the other hand, to verify whether additional policy measures are necessary.