What is exposomics?

The exposome encompasses the totality of human environmental exposures from conception onwards. It complements the genome. Exposomics refers to the systematic determination of environmental exposures.

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What is exposomics?

The onset of many health effects is explained by a contribution of environmental factors; genetics only explain 10-30 % of non-communicable diseases. The most recent Global Burden of Disease estimate showed that 40 % of mortality and 60 % of disability adjusted life years are attributable to environment (Lancet 2016;388:1659-1724). For some lifestyle factors such as tobacco smoking and particulate air pollution the health risk is not disputed (anymore). For others, e.g. pesticides, plasticizers and industrial emissions there are many questions to be answered in population-based studies. The exposure to environmental factors is studied from conception onwards, e.g. by use of biomarker of exposure, susceptibility and response. Some exposure are prevented; others can be avoided.  Most exposures will always be part of our lives and if they represent a known risk, it will depend on the exposure, which can be measured. Once these data are available we can discuss which exposures can be prevented and which ones we would like to prevent.

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dr. ir. Paul Scheepers

+31 (0)24 3616878
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Overview of services

The focus of our laboratory services is on human biological monitoring of industrial chemicals. We offer services in four areas:

  • Trace analysis of biological media
  • Evaluation of indoor air quality
  • Testing of counter measures
  • Reconstruction of chemical exposures
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Overview of services

  1. Trace analysis of biological media
We offer services for sample collection and targeted trace analysis of 200+ biomarkers in body tissues such as blood, urine and exhaled breath. Some of these analyses are performed using our own laboratory facilities. For other biomarkers we will forward your samples to the most experienced laboratories in Europe. You can find a list of the biomarkers for which we can support your research question.   
  1. Evaluation of indoor air quality
We offer services to analyze indoor air quality by use of different air sampling  approaches such as active sample collection on an adsorbent tubes and (soundless) by evacuated sampling containers (canisters).
  • Scheepers PT, de Hartog JJ, Reijnaerts J, Beckmann G, Anzion R, Poels K, Godderis L. Influence of combined dust reducing carpet and compact air filtration unit on the indoor air quality of a classroom. Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2015 Feb;17(2):316-25. Read the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25380291
  • Scheepers PTJ, Van Wel L, Beckmann G, Anzion RBM. Chemical Characterization of the Indoor Air Quality of a University Hospital: Penetration of Outdoor Air Pollutants.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 May 8;14(5). Public access at: Read the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5451948/
    Scheepers PT, Cremers R, van Hout SP, Anzion RB.
    Influence of a portable air treatment unit on health-related quality indicators of indoor air in a classroom. J Environ Monit. 2012 Feb;14(2):429-39. Read the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22027817
  1. Testing of counter measures
We test counter measures and production innovations to improve safety and sustainability. We have tested a contingency plan for a chemical spill in the International Space Station.
  • Scheepers P.T.J., Beckmann G., Van Hout S., Van der Kroon E., Leenders P. Determination of the filter capture efficiency for safe use of fixative solutions in the biological glove box of the International Space Station. Environ. Technol. Innov. 2015;3:86–96. Read the abstract : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352186415000115
  • Scheepers PT, van Houtum J, Anzion RB, Champmartin C, Hertsenberg S, Bos RP, van der Valk P. The occupational exposure of dermatology nurses to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - evaluating the effectiveness of better skin protection. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2009 May;35(3):212-21. Read the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19430709
  1. Reconstruction of chemical exposures
We have long-standing experience in lab-based and on-site reconstruction of exposures in retrospect, e.g. work-related or as part of environmental incidents with hazardous substances, to support human health risk assessment.
  • Scheepers PT, van Ballegooij-Gevers M, Jans H. Biological monitoring involving children exposed to mercury from a barometer in a private residence. Toxicol Lett. 2014 Dec 15;231(3):365-73. Read the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24699299
  • Scheepers PTJ, Masen-Poos L, van Rooy FGBGJ, Oerlemans A, van Daalen E, Cremers R, Lichtenbeld H, Biesma B, Sørli JB, Koponen IK, Larsen ST, Wolkoff P, Nørgaard AW.Pulmonary injury associated with spray of a water-based nano-sized waterproofing product: a case study. J Occup Med Toxicol. 2017 Dec 8;12:33. Public access at: https://occup-med.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12995-017-0180-7
  • Scheepers PT, van Brederode NE, Bos PM, Nijhuis NJ, van de Weerdt RH, van der Woude I, Eggens ML. Human biological monitoring for exposure assessment in response to an incident involving hazardous materials. Toxicol Lett. 2014 Dec 15;231(3):295-305. Read the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24631920
  • Scheepers PT, Bos PM, Konings J, Janssen NA, Grievink L.
  • Application of biological monitoring for exposure assessment following chemical incidents: a procedure for decision making. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2011 May-Jun;21(3):247-61. Read the abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20336049

Analysis options

For our analyses we use UPLC Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (TD-GC-MS), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with UV or Fluorescence Detection and Voltammetry.