Pollutant monitoring in European raptors

The IREC hosts the first meeting of the Cost ERBFacility Action, 19 to 22 February 2018, an initiative to coordinate the monitoring of environmental contaminants in raptors in Europe. This meeting involves more than 60 researchers from 24 European and neighboring countries working on different aspects of the biomonitoring of pollutants in raptors, from sample collection in the field to the toxicological analysis, including also biobanks.

Environmental contaminants impose € multi-billion costs on human and wildlife health. ERBFacility seeks to reduce these costs, meeting pan-European needs for: (a) enhanced effectiveness evaluation of chemicals laws; (b) more reliable risk assessment of compounds, (c) early warning of emerging contaminant problems.

Using raptors as particularly appropriate sentinels for persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) compounds, ERBFacility will help answer: (1) is legislation effective in reducing environmental exposure to contaminants in Europe; (2) what are the environmental risks of specific chemicals; (3) are there emerging contaminant problems needing remedial action?

ERBFacility will improve effectiveness evaluation, risk assessment and early warning in relation to regulation of priority substances, plant protection products, biocides, veterinary products and heavy metals.

ERBFacility will deliver linked research coordination and capacity building in three arenas: (1) analysis (academics, laboratories, regulatory agencies); (2) collections (natural history museums, environmental specimen banks and other collections providing samples for analysis); (3) field (gathering samples and relevant contextual data).
ERBFacility is timely and relevant given the shift in chemicals regulation from national to EU level and the 7EAP call for better scientific knowledge for a non-toxic environment.

ERBFacility fills a key gap in wildlife biomonitoring and complements recent European developments in human biomonitoring.

ERBFacility will underpin next generation biomonitoring in Europe by delivering: complementary frameworks for a European Raptor Biomonitoring Scheme, a distributed European Raptor Specimen Bank and a European Raptor Sampling Programme; a meta database of samples; harmonised standards and protocols for analyses and sampling; best practice guidance for sampling; proof of concept for pan- European assessments and harmonised sampling.

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