Appendix E
Foreign Environmental Monitoring Programs Using Human Tissues or Tissue Specimen Banking

National specimen banking programs are now conducted in Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. A joint specimen banking program by the USA and Canada is now being implemented and the activities of the specimen banking program of Germany are being expanded to include the former German Democratic Republic (R.A.Lewis, personal communication; Lewis and Klein, 1990).

Investigators in Brazil, France, Holland, and Japan have contributed to the development of specimen banking, and Japan has conducted pilot studies on the application of specimen banking to air pollution for more than 7 years (Lewis and Klein, 1990).

GERMANY

History

In 1976, a pilot environmental specimen banking program was begun in the Federal Republic of Germany under the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology. In 1980, an act was passed requiring the assessment of the hazards of xenobiotic chemicals for man and for the environment, and the FRG began to bank human tissues at the University of Münster. In 1981, the Central Bank of the Federal Republic of Germany was inaugurated at the Atomic Energy Center in Jülich. This facility stored in liquid nitrogen vapor human specimens of blood, liver, and adipose tissue as well as samples of other environmental indicators including fish, plants, milk, soil, and earthworms. In 1985, a permanent bank was established by the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection, and Reactor Safety.



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Monitoring Human Tissues for Toxic Substances Appendix E Foreign Environmental Monitoring Programs Using Human Tissues or Tissue Specimen Banking National specimen banking programs are now conducted in Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. A joint specimen banking program by the USA and Canada is now being implemented and the activities of the specimen banking program of Germany are being expanded to include the former German Democratic Republic (R.A.Lewis, personal communication; Lewis and Klein, 1990). Investigators in Brazil, France, Holland, and Japan have contributed to the development of specimen banking, and Japan has conducted pilot studies on the application of specimen banking to air pollution for more than 7 years (Lewis and Klein, 1990). GERMANY History In 1976, a pilot environmental specimen banking program was begun in the Federal Republic of Germany under the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology. In 1980, an act was passed requiring the assessment of the hazards of xenobiotic chemicals for man and for the environment, and the FRG began to bank human tissues at the University of Münster. In 1981, the Central Bank of the Federal Republic of Germany was inaugurated at the Atomic Energy Center in Jülich. This facility stored in liquid nitrogen vapor human specimens of blood, liver, and adipose tissue as well as samples of other environmental indicators including fish, plants, milk, soil, and earthworms. In 1985, a permanent bank was established by the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection, and Reactor Safety.

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Monitoring Human Tissues for Toxic Substances Current Program The German program for environmental monitoring and specimen banking has continued to grow and expand and represents the most extensive program of environmental monitoring and environmental specimen banking of human tissues of which we are aware. Collection of human samples is under the control of three institutions, while six institutions (one liquid nitrogen storage facility, a -85°C storage facility, and satellite storage facilities) store human samples for the specimen bank. Six laboratories are responsible for human specimen analysis. In addition to human samples, the program is collecting and banking a wide variety (approximately 15) of other specimens. There is a fingerprint analysis of each sample before storage. Subsequent analysis depends on specific questions being studied. Excluding overhead and significant personnel costs, the German program is funded at $2.5–3 million per year. SWEDEN A Swedish environmental monitoring program has been in operation since 1978. In 1986, a research program, “Environmental Health Monitoring Based on Biological Indicators” was established, which had as its major objective “to develop methods that will indicate impacts on human health and which can be related to environmental factors” (Andersson and Gustafsson, 1989). The focus of this program is to evaluate health effects of existing pollution levels, vulnerable human populations to environmental agents, and the synergistic effects of pollutants and other environmental factors. Some specific indicators to aid in this evaluation include DNA-adducts as well as measure of specific health effects such as genotoxicity, reproductive disturbances, neurotoxicity and immunological disturbances such as allergy (Andersson and Gustafsson, 1989). This program recognizes the value of a human biological specimen bank and will evaluate methods to establish such a bank in Sweden. This program will spend 4 million SEK per year through 1991. CANADA In Canada, responsibilities and efforts for monitoring the environment are divided between federal and provincial governments. On the federal level, some environmental monitoring and/or specimen banking is performed by

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Monitoring Human Tissues for Toxic Substances several agencies including the following: Agriculture Canada (soil and pesticide monitoring) Environment Canada, Conservation and Protection, Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS Specimen Bank) Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (proposed Arctic Specimen Bank) Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Great Lakes Monitoring Program including the Great Lakes Specimen Bank) One of the more extensively used of the above programs is the CWS Specimen Bank which has collected specimens since the mid-1960s. This bank has more than 30,000 specimens representing samples from more than 300 mammalian and avian species. Most specimens are stored in walk-in freezers at— 35 to -40°C; however, specimens for biochemical studies are stored at -150°C. The program is staffed locally by 2.7 full time equivalents and uses $20,000 in freezer maintenance/supply costs (excluding electricity) per year. The costs of collection/shipment of specimens was not stated. Also, the cost of the program probably will increase as more demanding collection/storage protocols are developed for biochemical monitoring. Human specimens are not being banked as part of the program. Operation of the program and results have been reported in several documents. JAPAN In 1980, a 3-year study was begun by the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) to evaluate specific aspects of sample banking. These topics included methods of 1) selection and collection of samples, 2) sample preservation, and 3) data analysis to reconstruct environmental changes based on samples systematically preserved/collected specimens. Many of these studies have been completed but there is no complete English reference to these results. No widespread environmental monitoring of human tissues was conducted as part of the program; however limited monitoring programs examining environmental pollutants in human hair, milk, blood, and urine have been performed locally.

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