General Information

Project Overview

CROME-LIFE aims to demonstrate a technically feasible integrated methodology for interpretation of human biomonitoring (HBM) data that will allow to quantitatively assess the impact on human health due to acute/chronic exposure to chemicals acting as neurodevelopmental and neurological toxicants and/or human carcinogens such as toxic and organic substances (PCBs and PBDEs, organochlorine and organobromine compounds).

The health endpoints investigated would be cancer (for organic carcinogens such as PCBs) and neurotoxicity (for metals and organic compounds).

The methodology applied will couple environmental monitoring data with HBM and epidemiological observations using physiologically-based toxicokinetic (PBTK) and toxicodynamic (PBTD) models. These would allow us to mechanistically associate the observed concentrations of contaminants in environmental media (air, water and soil) with HBM data already existing within the consortium and collected through targeted field campaigns. Via reverse modelling human exposure to the chemical substances will be reconstructed. These estimates will be used as indices of population exposure and of the environmental health burden due to the anthropogenic pollution in the project demonstration sites. The CROME-LIFE approach will show the feasibility of environment-wide association studies by interoperably linking environmental, biomonitoring and health status data. Causal associations between the observed health outcomes and the measured/estimated markers of exposure will be derived by means of advanced statistical models and causal diagrams.

The CROME-LIFE method and tool will be applied and integrated into the decision-making process of the competent authorities in the five demonstration sites (Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Spain) tackling different levels of environmental exposure, age windows, and socio-economic and genetic variability. We are already in contact with the authorities and the results of the project are awaited to enhance the quality and robustness of the respective decision making processes. In Italy ISS is the national competent authority. JSI in Slovenia is authorised by the Ministry of Health for the implementation of the national HBM programme. In Greece AUTH has the explicit support of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and in Spain CSIC has established a close link with the public health and environmental authorities in charge of the environmental health problems tackled by the project.

Expected results:

  • Operational demonstration of the use of human biomonitoring data for aggregated and cumulative health impact assessment through the development of new standards for HBM data interpretation in conjunction with environmental and exposure information in five selected areas of South Europe (Greece, Croatia, Italy, Spain and Slovenia).
  • Knowledge improvement in the identification of cause-effect relations between different environmental stressors, biomonitoring data and observed adverse health outcome taking into account exposure and health effect modification due to intrinsic (such as genetic susceptibility) and extrinsic (such as diet and socio-economic status) factors.
  • Through pro-active dissemination, CROME-LIFE will raise the level of understanding among policy makers and increase awareness of the local public and competent authorities in the selected countries with regard to the possibility of using advanced biomonitoring and environment and health data analysis for efficient exposure assessment and health risk management resulting in a significant improvement of the decision-making processes.
  • Support the Environment and Health Action Plan (EHAP) of the European Commission by extending health impact assessment (HIA) methods and tools to draw environment-wide association studies between environmental stressors and human health.  By doing so, environment and health impacts of policy measures addressing the environmental dimension can be evaluated reliably at the local/regional level through the proper coupling of environmental monitoring, human biomonitoring and health status data resulting in taking more targeted public health protection measures and a better use of the currently sparse financial resources.
  • Benefits include new integrated methods and tools for assessing the environment and health linkage, new knowledge about the link between environment quality and health impacts, and priorities for further method development.

Based on international experience from targeted actions (e.g. the SuperFund program of the US EPA, or the LIFE+ project DEMOCOPHES), these actions are expected to produce:

  • reduction of neurodevelopmental disorders (including IQ growth mitigation) in the children population on the order of 10-20%;
  • reduction in reproductive toxicity observations on the order of 15-20%; and
  • reduction of childhood cancer observed after 3-4 years in areas contaminated with Cr6+ on the order of 20-30%)

 

Duration

Project start: 01/07/2013
Project end: 31/12/2016
Duration: 42 months

 

Budget

CROME Budget