Division of Environmental Hygiene


The main activity of the Division of Environmental Hygiene is the monitoring and study of pollutants in environmental and biological samples and the development and validation of analytical methods for their determination.

The Division was formed in 2023 during the reorganization of the Institute by merging two scientific research units: the Environmental Hygiene Unit and the analytical chemistry part of the Biochemistry and Organic Analytical Chemistry Unit.


In the beginning, air pollution was studied exclusively at work spaces and sites primarily to assess the exposure of workers and improve their working conditions (Fugaš and Valić, 1968). During the 1960s, measurements were extended to monitoring the quality of outdoor air, primarily in urban and rural areas, and then to monitoring the biological effects of pollutants with an emphasis on the assessment of total human exposure. It was the employees of the Institute who conducted the first outdoor air quality measurements in Zagreb, which were also the first of their type in Croatia (Fugaš et al., 1965). In 1973, the laboratory began cooperation with the World Health Organization as a Laboratory for Air Pollution.

At the same time, the Laboratory’s employees encouraged the establishment of a non-governmental association for the promotion of goals in the field of air protection from pollution, which since 1993 has been called the Croatian Association for Air Protection (HUZZ) with its headquarters at the Institute. Among other things, HUZZ organized the first national gathering on air protection in 1997, which has been regularly held with international participation every two years since then. With the same dynamics, HUZZ regularly organizes an expert seminar abroad under the title “Determining pollution in air, water and soil using specific analytical techniques – familiarization with European standards”.

During the 1980s, measurements of air pollution in closed spaces (households, offices, schools, kindergartens) began.

An overview of the air quality measurements carried out by the Institute’s employees in the second half of the twentieth century was presented in a paper by Fugaš et al. (1999).

In recent times, research includes the development of analytical methods for measuring specific pollutants in the outdoor air, studying their temporal and spatial distribution and mutual relationships, atmospheric chemistry, modeling and connection with effects on human health and the environment. The levels of suspended particles PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons contained in them were investigated (Jakovljević et al., 2018, Jakovljević et al., 2020, Pehnec et al., 2020), as well as the levels of organic and elemental carbon (Godec et al., 2016), metals (Žero et al., 2022, Rinkovec et al., 2018) and water-soluble ions (Gluščić et al., 2020). The composition of the total sediment was also investigated (Šimić et al., 2020, Jakovljević et al., 2021, Gluščić et al., 2023). The dominant sources of floating particles (Perrone et al., 2018, Almeida et al., 2020), long-term trends (Lovrić et al., 2022, Matasović et al., 2021) and possible impact on health and the environment were studied. (Jakovljević et al., 2023, Gajski et al., 2022, Godec et al., 2021, Pehnec and Jakovljević, 2018). Also, in recent times, the quality of indoor air has been investigated in more detail, given that people spend most of their time indoors due to the modern way of life (EDIAQI project).


The first studies were focused on the formation of metal complexes with organic ligands as analytical reagents. In the early 1970s, chromatographic methods of analysis were introduced, primarily for the identification and quantitative determination of organophosphorus compounds in the aquatic environment, and later also for monitoring a large number of different classes of pesticides: herbicides (triazines, phenylurea, dinitroanilines, chloracetanilides, triketones), insecticides (organophosphates, neonicotinoids , pyrethroids) etc. The presence of the mentioned micropollutants was determined in biological (Mendaš et al., 2012) and environmental samples (Fingler et al., 2017) with the aim of studying their distribution between individual parts of the environment and assessing human exposure (Mendaš and et al., 2023).

A large part of our research focuses on the study of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), organochlorine pesticides (OCP), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/F) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) from the group of persistent organic pollutants Pollutants, POPs) regulated by the Stockholm Convention in different environmental and biological matrices. One of the first studies of different classes of POPs in mother’s milk in Croatia was started in the 1970s in the Unit for Biochemistry and Organic Analytical Chemistry and continues to this day, and the results obtained in the last few decades are summarized in a review paper (S. Herceg Romanić and et al., 2023). As part of the Unit’s cooperation with cooperating institutions abroad and the World Health Organization, the only research available to date on PCDD/F in Zagreb air (B. Krauthacker et al., 2006) and mother’s milk (Krauthacker et al., 2009, S. Herceg Romanić et al., 2023). In recent decades, PCBs have been investigated in various marine organisms along the entire Adriatic coast, and the results are summarized in a review (S. Herceg Romanić et al., 2024). The first investigations of PBDEs in indoor dust in Croatia were carried out as part of the DeValApp project.


New research is being carried out as part of the project of the Institute for Environmental Hygiene, EnvironPollutHealth, funded by the NextGenerationEU program. The most important environmental pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, ozone, toxic metals, volatile organic compounds, floating particles (PM10, PM2.5, PM1) and POPs, as well as pollutants such as ultrafine particles, black carbon and microplastics.


Basic and applied scientific research in the field of biomedicine and healthcare, as well as biotechnical and natural sciences.

EU – NextGenerationEU

EU – EU Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe

Croatian Science Foundation

  • 2023–2027 Pollen in the Adriatic Sea: Input Dynamics, Chemical Characterization and Effects on Primary Production – POLLMAR (leader: Ruđer Bošković Institute, Croatia)
  • 2021–2025  Air Pollution and Human Biomarkers of Effect – HUMNap (leader: IMROH, Croatia; PI: G. Gajski)

Educational and popularization projects


The Divison’s professional activity includes measurements of various pollutants in outdoor air.

Since the mid-1960s, measurements have been carried out at the stations of the measuring network for monitoring the air quality of the City of Zagreb. Since 2003, measurements of air particle fractions have been carried out at some stations of the state network for permanent monitoring of air quality.

Since 2014, IMROH was appointed by the Air Protection Act to carry out measurements on the state network, referring to the determination of the physical and chemical composition of air particles and equivalence studies of non-reference methods of measuring air particle fractions.

The Division is an accredited testing laboratory according to the HRN EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard by the Croatian Accreditation Agency (HAA) in the area described in the annex to the Accreditation Certificate No 1288.

List of accredited methods

HRN EN 12341:2014
(EN 12341:2014)
Determination of mass concentration
of PM10 and PM2.5 particle fractions
HRN EN 14212:2012
(EN 14212:2012),
HRN EN 14212:2012/Amend. 1:2014 (EN 14212:2012/AC:2014)
Determination of the concentration
of sulphur dioxide in the ambient air
HRN EN 14625:2012
(EN 14625:2012)
Determination of the concentration of
ozone in the ambient air
HRN EN 14211:2012
(EN 14211:2012)
Determination of the concentration of
nitrogen oxide in the ambient air
HRN EN 14626:2012
(EN 14626:2012)
Determination of the concentration of
carbon monoxide in the ambient air
HRN EN 14902:2007
(EN 14902:2005),
HRN EN 14902/AC:2007
(EN 14902:2005/AC:2006)
Determination of the concentration of
Pb, Cd, As and Ni in the PM10 fraction of
suspended particulate matter
HRN EN 16909:2017
(EN 16909:2017)
Determination of the mass concentration of
elemental and organic carbon in the suspended
particulate matter in the ambient air
HRN EN 15549:2008
(EN 15549:2008)
Determination of the concentration of
benzo(a)pyrene in the ambient air
HRI CEN/TR 16269:2017
(CEN/TR 16269:2011)
Determination of the mass concentration of
anions and cations in the suspended particulate
VDI 4320 Part 2: 2012
(VDI 4320 Part 2:2012)
Determination of the dust deposition according
to the Bergerhoff method
HRS CEN/TS 16645:2016
(CEN/TS 16645:2014)
Determination of the concentrations of
benz(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene,
benzo(j)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene,
dibenz(a,h)anthracene, indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene
and benzo(ghi)perylene in ambient air
HRN EN 15841:2010
(EN 15841:2009)
Determination of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and
nickel in atmospheric deposition
In-house method OP-610-UTT-Tl
Edition 01 2020-01-28
Determination of thallium in
atmospheric deposition
HRN EN 16913:2017
EN 16913:2017)
Determination of the mass concentration of anions and
cations in PM2.5 as deposited on filters


Head of Division

Research and professional staff

Technical staff