Biomonitoring of atmospheric pollution: possibilities and future challenges
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This special issue of Environmental Science and Pollution Research highlights selected papers presented at the Seventh International Workshop of BioMAP (BioMAP7), which is focused on biomonitoring of atmospheric pollution, and which was held on June 14–19, 2015, in Lisbon, Portugal.
The series of BioMAP workshops was initiated in 1997, emerged as an effective 3-annual platform for (academic) exchange, and was now held for the third time in Portugal, organized by the Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares (Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa). The workshop brings together both scientists, policy makers and other practitioners in environmental sciences from all over the world, to share answers and ideas and discuss the challenges that should be faced within the realm of atmospheric pollution.
There is an ever growing need for information within the context of possible health hazards due to environmental pollution. This information is necessary to improve air quality management. Biomonitoring is a sensitive, selective and user-friendly method of air quality monitoring, to be used in both ambient, indoor and working place conditions, and the relevant information may be deduced from either the abundance, the behaviour of the organisms, or from the presence of specific substances in the monitor tissues. Biomonitors may be applied both in in situ situations, as in surveys in which monitors are exposed that are transplanted from background level sites.
BioMAP7, in addition to the specific issues related to biomonitoring as a technique, specifically addressed the potential of biomonitoring in assessing human exposure to and effects of exposure to toxic substances: as it is, biomonitoring comprises interdisciplinary approaches, which need input from environmental, biological, chemico-analytical, data-analytical and medical-epidemiological domains.
This special issue cannot fully reflect the diversity and creativity of the ideas and new insights that were shared at BioMAP7. However, as editors, we hope that this issue may prompt scientists from the diverse fields to participate in BioMAP workshops to come: the collected papers show and justify the strong position of the biomonitoring technique in worldwide studies on atmospheric pollution.