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Swiss authorities concerned about health impact of certain chemicals

© Gyuszko |

20 Minutes.

A pilot bio-monitoring project in Switzerland will measure traces of pollutants and micronutrient and endocrine disruptors in organic samples. According to 20 Minutes, the impact of certain chemical products worries the authorities.

The pilot project was launched last week by the executive branch of Switzerland’s government, known as the Federal Council. Depending on the results, a nationwide project could be considered.

Tests will be conducted by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health. The pilot will firm up thinking on the processes and infrastructure required to run testing.

Switzerland playing catch-up

Switzerland is behind other european countries regarding such studies. Several already have studies outlining their populations’ exposure to chemical substances.

A different programme, coordinated at a european level called Democophes, was conducted in 17 countries including Switzerland. Democophes tested children (6-11) and mothers (45 or under) for exposure to mercury, cadmium, tobacco smoke and some phthalates, a substance found in plastics. An additional substance, Bisphenol-A (BPA), was tested for in six countries, but not in Switzerland. BPA is used in coatings on the inside of cans, in plastics, in paints, varnishes and glues, and in the thermal paper used, for example, in supermarkets’ cash tickets. In animal experiments, elevated levels of BPA are linked to fertility and developmental problems, cardiovascular disorders and diabetes, among other conditions.

Fieldworkers collected hair and urine samples from a total of 120 volunteers in Switzerland, half from urban areas and half from rural areas. The tests did not reveal any alarming results among the 120 cases examined in Switzerland, according to the Swiss government, which considered the results in 2012. The 120 participants were mothers and children in the city of Bern and from the Aargau countryside.

The new pilot bio-monitoring project is different. It will look at residues of chemical pesticides.

In 2015, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the pesticides diazinon, glyphosate and malathion as “probably carcinogenic” to humans.

report commissioned by Greenpeace in 2016 found pesticide residue in 8 out of the 10 Swiss wines it tested.


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