Consortium to Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale

Project No. IPA 83


completed 12/2012


COPHES aims at building a sustainable framework for Human Biomonitoring (HBM) surveys in Europe and increase the comparability of data across countries. A key step in such a framework is the elaboration of common guidelines for setting up surveys.


COPHES team in charge of sample processing developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in order to establish a common framework for the pre-analytical and analytical aspects. Pre-analytical SOPs included instructions and recommendations on sampling (material selection, material pre-treatment) and how to collect the target biological matrices (urine and hair), besides practical aspects like packing of samples, shipment and preservation. For the analytical phase, SOPs were provided with detailed instructions on the analysis of the DEMOCOPHES biomarkers: mercury in hair; cadmium, cotinine, creatinine and phthalates metabolites in urine.


The study measured biomarkers for mercury, cadmium, phthalates, bisphenol A as well as environmental tobacco smoke in human hair and urine from around 120 mother-child pairs in the 17 participating countries, in total almost 4000 samples. This is the first time that we have information on the distribution of chemicals in 17 EU countries which are comparable between the countries and with international data.

Last Update:

2 Jun 2017


Financed by:
  • Europäische Union 7th Framework Program
Research institution(s):
  • Europäische Union 7th Framework Program

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


chemical working substances, toxicology

Description, key words:

Human biomonitoring, harmonisation