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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP474

Biomonitoring in the Era of the Exposome

Kristine K. Dennis,1 Elizabeth Marder,1 David M. Balshaw,2 Yuxia Cui,2 Michael A. Lynes,3 Gary J. Patti,4 Stephen M. Rappaport,5 Daniel T. Shaughnessy,2 Martine Vrijheid,6 and Dana Boyd Barr1*#
Author Affiliations open
1Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; 2Exposure, Response, and Technology Branch, Division of Extramural Research and Training, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC; 3Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT; 4Departments of Chemistry and Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; 5Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA; 6Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain

*Authorship: Rapporteurs are listed as first and second author and corresponding scientist as last author. All other authors are listed in alphabetical order.
#To whom correspondence should be addressed: Dana Boyd Barr, Ph.D., Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop: 1518-002-2BB, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322,

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  • Background: The term “exposome” was coined in 2005 to underscore the importance of the environment to human health and bring research efforts in line with those on the human genome. The ability to characterize environmental exposures through biomonitoring is key to exposome research efforts.

    Objectives: Our objective was to describe why traditional and non-traditional (exposomic) biomonitoring are both critical in studies aiming to capture the exposome and make recommendations on how to transition exposure research toward exposomic approaches. We describe the biomonitoring needs of exposome research and approaches and recommendations that will help fill the gaps in the current science.

    Discussion: Traditional and exposomic biomonitoring approaches have key advantages and disadvantages for assessing exposure. Exposomic approaches differ from traditional biomonitoring methods in that they can include all exposures of potential health significance, whether from endogenous or exogenous sources. Issues of sample availability and quality, identification of unknown analytes, capture of non-persistent chemicals, integration of methods and statistical assessment of increasingly complex datasets remain as challenges that must continue to be addressed.

    Conclusions: To understand the complexity of exposures faced across the lifespan, traditional and nontraditional biomonitoring methods should both be used. Through hybrid approaches and integration of emerging techniques, biomonitoring strategies can be maximized in research to define the exposome.

  • This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

    Citation: Dennis KK, Marder E, Balshaw DM, Cui Y, Lynes MA, Patti GJ, Rappaport SM, Shaughnessy DT, Vrijheid M, Barr DB. Biomonitoring in the Era of the Exposome. Environ Health Perspect;

    Received: 28 January 2016
    Revised: 10 May 2016
    Accepted: 21 June 2016
    Published: 6 July 2016

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