Exposure to toxic elements leads to worrying health problems in many parts of the world, including Europe. A new, EU-funded research project, involving partners from all over the world, will study the health effects of long-term, low-level exposure to toxic metals. The research is clearly designed to make a difference as its results will be communicated to politicians, industry and other organisations involved in decision-making.
“We will assess the roles of the toxic metals as causes of important diseases. Also, by screening metals in the blood of women and children from different parts of Europe, we will monitor changes over time as well as geographical differences. This will enable us to make comparisons and to assess risks” says Staffan Skerfving, Professor at Lund University, Sweden, who is the co-ordinator of the research project. “For example, the health impacts of metals emitted from the exhaust systems of cars are something that we intend to home in on” he adds.
The research project, PHIME (“Public health aspects of long-term, low-level mixed element exposure in susceptible population strata”) will focus on serious public health problems – developmental disturbances of the foetal brain as well as diseases such as Parkinson´s disease, coronary heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis/fractures, diabetes and uremia. The aim is to identify the proportion of such disorders that can be attributed to exposure to toxic elements, and which could therefore be preventable. PHIME will mainly focus on exposure patterns for those at high risk e.g. the unborn in the mother’s womb, children and women.
Johanna Sandahl | alfa
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