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  • 1 Commission of the European Communities Joint Research Centre, Ispra Establishment, Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry Division 21020 Ispra (Va) (Italy)
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Within the framework of the Protection of the Environment programme of the JRC-Ispra of the European Community, research on trace metal exposure and health effects is concerned primarily with the toxicological assessment of present levels of trace metals in the tissues of exposed and unexposed populations. Main activities are: (1) microdetermination of trace elements in human tissues in order to generate an accurate and reliable data base on the levels and biochemical forms of trace metals in differently exposed humans; (2) metabolism and biochemical mechanisms involving trace metals to assess the toxicological significance of the current levels of the elements in the human body. Few selected applications related to the different steps of the biochemical toxicology research are shown. They concern the long-term behaviour of trace metals at the target tissues of laboratory animals, the biological monitoring of vanadium in workers during maintenance operations at an oil fired power plant for energy production, and the biochemical mechanism of methylation of arsenic in vivo.