Goal of the study
"Democophes" is a European initiative in which 17 countriesfollow a biomonitoring programme. The 17 participating countries used comparable procedures to recruit participants, to take samples as well as for controlling the quality and analysing the data. The general goal of Democophes is to check if such a large scale biomonitoring programme would be practicable in Europe. In Belgium, all ministers of Environment and/or Health support this experiment.
The presence of mercury is measured in the participants' hair, and the following components are measured in their urine: cadmium, cotinine (originating from tobacco smoke), phtalates and bisphenol A (plastic components) as well as triclosan (a preservative present in cosmetics, textiles and plastic materials). The medical and ethical commission of the Universities of Antwerp and Liège have delivered a favourable opinion regarding the study.