Lisbeth E. Knudsen, Zorana J. Andersen, Radim J. Sram, Markéta Braun Kohlová, Eugen S. Gurzau, Aleksandra Fucic, Laura Gribaldo, Pavel Rossner, Andrea Rossnerova, Vojtěch Máca, Iva Zvěřinová, Dagmar Gajdosova, Hanns Moshammer, Peter Rudnai, Milan Ščasný
October 18, 2016
In 2013–2015, a consortium of European scientists – NEWDANUBE – was established to prepare a birth cohort in the Danube region, including most of the countries with the highest air pollution in Europe, the area being one-fifth of the European Union’s (EU’s) territory, including 14 countries (nine EU member states), over 100 million inhabitants, with numerous challenges: big socioeconomic disparities, and a region-specific environmental pollution. The consortium reflects the EU Strategy for the Danube Region Strategy (2010), which identified 11 thematic Priority Areas – one of which is the environmental risks. Birth cohorts have been established in all other areas of Europe and collaborative efforts in promoting maternal and fetal health by minimizing the environmental exposures have been initiated with national, European, and international financial support. A birth cohort in the Danube area could apply the established methodologies for prenatal exposure and birth outcome measurements and establish a platform for targeted health promotion in couples planning pregnancies. The consortium included a strong socioeconomic part focusing on the participant’s active registration of exposures to environmental toxicants and health indicators of disease and wellbeing, combined with investigation of their risk-reducing behavior and interventions to change their lifestyle to avoid the adverse health risks. Willingness to pay for reducing the health risks in children is also proposed to be estimated. Further collaboration and networking is encouraged as the Danube region has several decades of experience and expertise in biomonitoring adult populations exposed environmentally or occupationally. Additionally, some countries in the Danube region launched small-scale birth cohorts encouraged by participation in several ongoing research projects.