Caring about the future

World Food Day, 16 October

World Food Day, 16 October

Every day, people are exposed to complex mixtures of chemicals mainly through food. In order to assess human exposure to food contaminants, it is crutial to carry out their biomonitoring, that is, to detect their presence directly in biological samples such as blood, hair, urine or breast milk, or to predict their effects on the human body at an early stage, in order to reduce exposure to chemicals and contribute to improve public health.

Coordinated by the German Federal Environment Agency, the HBM4EU (European Human Biomonitoring Initiative) is a European consortium with the participation of 30 countries, the European Environment Agency and the European Commission, financed under the European Horizon 2020 program and in execution from 2017 to 2021 ( This initiative aims to use human biomonitoring to assess human exposure to chemical substances, with a view to better understanding the associated health impacts and improving the assessment of chemical risks.

One of the chemical substance groups studied under HBM4EU are the mycotoxins, natural compounds produced by fungi and present mainly in food. In this context, two mycotoxins were selected to study: deoxynivalenol (DON), which promotes intestinal disorders and inflammation, and fumonisin B1 (FB1), a possible human carcinogen. The ongoing work program under HBM4EU for mycotoxins is led by Portugal.

Author: Paula Alvito

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