Organisation of the study


In a standardised way, the researchers collected urine and hair on school children aged 6 to 12 and on their mothers (aged under 45). Schools and children contributed on a voluntary basis. The sample collection was carried out by experienced nurses from theProvincial Hygiene Institutes of Antwerp and Hainaut.
A questionnaire (in French or in Dutch) investigated the living environment and interior exposure to:


  • combustion products and plastic components,
  • eating habits,
  • smoking behaviour,
  • use of care products,
  • hobbies (with exposure to metals and plastics),
  • occupation and education.


Those lifestyle factors may have an influence on the measured proportion in urine and hair and can be used to verify how the exposure happened.
In the period covering October 2011 up to and including February 2012, that fieldwork was carried out in a similar fashion in 17 European countries, namely Ireland, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary.     
The table below gives an overview of the procedure applied for recruiting and the sample collection :