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      Twenty years of the German Environmental Survey (GerES): human biomonitoring--temporal and spatial (West Germany/East Germany) differences in population exposure.

      International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
      Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Child, Child, Preschool, Cross-Sectional Studies, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Pollutants, blood, urine, Epidemiological Monitoring, Germany, East, epidemiology, Germany, West, Humans, Infant, Longitudinal Studies, Metals, Heavy, Middle Aged, Pentachlorophenol, Polycyclic Hydrocarbons, Aromatic

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          The German Environmental Surveys (GerESs) are nationwide population studies, which have repeatedly been carried out in Germany since the mid-1980s. The subjects were representatively selected from the regional registration offices with regard to age, gender and community size. The first survey for adults (GerES I) was carried out in 1985/1986 (West Germany) followed by GerES IIa in 1990/1991 (West Germany) and GerES IIb in 1991/1992 (East Germany). In GerES II children were also included to some extent. In 1998, the third GerES for adults was conducted in both parts of Germany (GerES III). The current survey 2003/2006 (GerES IV) is focussing exclusively on children. A 1-year pilot study was conducted in 2001-2002 to collect information on parameters influencing the response rate and to test the suitability of the different instruments intended to be used for the main study. The main goal of the surveys is to analyse and document the extent, distribution and determinants of exposure to environmental pollutants of the German general population. Three main instruments of investigation were comprised in GerES: human biomonitoring (HBM), monitoring of the domestic environment, and collecting information on exposure pathways and living conditions via questionnaires. This paper is focussed on the general design of the GerESs, the trend over time and spatial differences (West Germany and East Germany) for HBM data on arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, pentachlorophenol (PCP), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These substances have been determined in blood and/or morning urine of adults and children. All GerESs have been conducted in close connection with the National Health Interview and Examination Surveys performed by the Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin.

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