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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

ANSES Scientific Conferences: a day devoted to exposure markers

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News of 30/05/2012

30 May 2012

A meeting on exposure indicators and biomarkers was held today to report back on the research projects conducted under the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST), coordinated by ANSES. The presentation of research projects and the discussions enabled all participants to take stock of the scientific progress in this area, as well as the relevance of these tools, for the purpose of risk prevention and protection of human health.

Among its other missions, ANSES coordinates and supports research. This includes running the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST), an essential project for acquiring the knowledge needed to implement French public health policy and for health risk assessment at the Agency. In this context, a call for research proposals is issued each year, with funds provided to ANSES by the French Ministries for the Environment and Labour. In order to showcase these studies ANSES organises two sessions a year as part of its Scientific Conferences, to provide feedback on projects on a given theme, during which the research teams can present their work to the public.

Today's event focused on the theme: "From exposure indicators to biomarkers: tools for assessing and monitoring health risks".

A biomarker is defined as an observable change at molecular, cellular, physiological or behavioural level, which indicates past or present exposure of an individual to a chemical substance.
The development of exposure indicators and biomarkers is thus a major contribution to the fields of environmental and occupational health. These new tools can be used to estimate an individual's present or past exposure to environmental risks, and sometimes the effects of the exposure. More generally, they enable the authorities to monitor the health of the public as a whole or in the workplace.

A day for taking stock

ANSES, via the PNR EST, attaches particular importance to such research, especially when it concerns the development or implementation of these tools. Today's feedback meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the scientific advances, as well as the relevance of exposure markers in the context of risk assessment and prevention, and protection of human health.

Guest speaker Georges Salines pointed out the contribution of biomarkers as a tool for surveillance or investigation. He also highlighted the limitations of biosurveillance, to be considered when interpreting results.
Throughout the morning, presentations reviewed the studies on exposure to various pesticides, work that will contribute, directly or indirectly, to risk prevention and protection of human health.
In the afternoon, various presentations illustrated the value of biomarkers for estimating exposure and for biosurveillance.
Extensive discussion time after each presentation and during the poster sessions encouraged 'cross-pollination' between the various disciplines involved in environmental and occupational health.

Find out more

> Visit the Scientific Conferences website (in French only)

> View the participant dossier (in French only)