Between 2010 and 2012, Switzerland participated in DEMOCOPHES, the first cross-sectional HBM study harmonized across Europe. In the context of some cohort studies in Switzerland, human biosamples are taken, some of which are analysed for chemicals.
As part of the European DEMOCOPHES study, urine and hair samples from 120 mothers and their children were tested for certain chemical substances in each of the 17 participating countries between 2010 and 2012. In addition, the mothers filled in a questionnaire about behaviours and habits relevant for the exposure to these substances.
In Switzerland, some larger studies such as SAPALDIA or CoLaus associate biomonitoring data to clinical data and thorough interviews about life style, dietary habits or socio-economic factors. A regular follow-up of the volunteers can bring to light risk factors and behaviours for known diseases. In these studies, HBM data is collected selectively and is primarily used to elucidate the causes of certain diseases.
However, projects in this area are sporadic, and are limited in duration and scope. They often focus on a specific issue, e.g. the Swiss Transplant Cohort Study (STCS). There is thus no study that allows assessing representatively the exposure of the Swiss population to chemical substances.