Environmental specimen bank for human tissues

2011, Fachzeitschriften

Wiesmüller, Gerhard A.; Gies, Andreas
Encyclopedia of Environmental Health (2011),  507-527, online 23. Februar 2011


The Environmental Specimen Bank for Human Tissues (ESB-Human) is part of the German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB). It focuses on documenting and assessing trends of human exposures via real-time monitoring (RTM) of body burden and long-term storage of samples under stable deep-freezing conditions for retrospective monitoring (RM).

Every year RTM is performed in blood and urine of German students. Medical history, personal metadata, individual behavior, and potential exposures are asked via a standardized self-reported questionnaire.

RTM currently covers 64 inorganic and 5 organochlorine compounds. It indicates that concentrations of several substances remain unchanged over time, for example, arsenic, cadmium, and selenium, whereas concentrations of other substances significantly decrease, for example, lead and pentachlorophenol (PCP).

Stored samples allow rapid RM of pollutants whenever needed. Need for time-related exposure information and availability of analytical methods are main criteria to conduct RM. Recent analyses include phthalates and brominated and perfluorinated compounds (PFC). ESB-Human data confirms success of regulatory efforts to reduce human exposures, for example, to dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and PFC. In contrast, the data indicate time-dependent increase in, for example, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and di-iso-nonyl phthalate (DiNP) concentrations in human tissues and the potential need for risk reduction strategies. Current research investigates the feasibility of sampling human tissues from highly vulnerable groups.

doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52272-6.00450-5