Study investigates child exposure to pollutants in Luxembourg


The study examines children's hair samples for pollutant exposure. (Photo: Andrey Popov/Shutterstock) 

An international study led by the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) aims to identify potential unsuspected exposure to pollutants among children. 

The Human Biomonitoring Research Unit (HBRU) at LIH specializes in research concerning the development of human exposure to different occupational and environmental pollutants.

Whereas previous studies in this field have indicated a link between exposure to pollutants and chronic diseases including cancer and various neurological disorders, recent data suggests that childhood represents a particularly vulnerable period during which exposure to pollutants could lead to short-term ailments as well as diseases later in life.

The LIH study launched 7 October in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg will analyse hair strands to assess the exposure to pollutants among children from different areas, including Luxemborg. The project is supported by the Fondatioun Kriibskrank Kanner. 

The researchers chose to analyse hair “because it covers a period of time ranging from several weeks to several months and therefore highlights chronic exposure while a urine or blood test only corresponds to the few hours before the sample was taken,” said Brice Appenzeller of the HBRU team. 

The results, expected within 18 to 24 months, will be used by the research team to highlight differences in exposure between locations but also between different children within those locations, which is supposed to help identify previously unsuspected sources of exposure. 

Call for participants

The study aims to collect around 200 hair samples from children living in Luxembourg and aged 1 to 12, collected with a sample kit send to participants. 

Contact [email protected] to be part of the study and request a test kit.