• Journal Article

Personalized exposure assessment: Promising approaches for human environmental health research


Weis, B. K., Balshawl, D., Barr, J. R., Brown, D., Ellisman, M., Liov, P., ... Wilson, S. H. (2005). Personalized exposure assessment: Promising approaches for human environmental health research. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(7), 840-848.


New technologies and methods for assessing human exposure to chemicals, dietary and lifestyle factors, infectious agents, and other stressors provide an opportunity to extend the range of human health investigations and advance our understanding of the relationship between environmental exposure and disease. An ad hoc Committee on Environmental Exposure Technology Development was convened to identify new technologies and methods for deriving personalized exposure measurements for application to environmental health studies. The committee identified a 'toolbox' of methods for measuring external (environmental) and internal (biologic) exposure and assessing human behaviors that influence the likelihood of exposure to environmental agents. The methods use environmental sensors, geographic information systems, biologic sensors, toxico-genomics, and body burden (biologic) measurements. We discuss each of the methods in relation to current use in human health research; specific gaps in the development, validation, and application of the methods are highlighted. We also present a conceptual framework for moving these technologies into use and acceptance by the scientific community. The framework focuses on understanding complex human diseases using an integrated approach to exposure assessment to define particular exposure-disease relationships and the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in disease occurrence. Improved methods for exposure assessment will result in better means of monitoring and targeting intervention and prevention programs. Key words: body burden, epidemiology, exposure, exposure assessment, exposure technology, geographic information systems, GIS, sensors