The chemical exposome in BiSC!

Exposome is defined as the set of environmental exposures to which an individual is exposed from conception to the end of life. The exposure is therefore complex and dynamic as it changes over time. One dimension of this exposome is the chemical compounds, to which we are exposed on a daily basis. More than 140,000 new commercial chemicals have been synthesized since 1950, and only a small portion of them have been subjected to rigorous safety or toxicity testing. Bio-monitoring of chemical compounds, the study of their determinants and their health consequences, is difficult. New, high-capacity, far-reaching chemical methods, however, have marked a breakthrough that has revolutionized this type of study.

At BiSC we aim to measure the chemical exposome through the funding of different projects: “Advancing Tools for Human Early Lifecourse Exposome Research and Translation” (ATHLETE), “Prenatal exposure to short-lived endocrine disruptors, hypothalamic-pituitary axis and child neurodevelopment ”(HyPAxE),“ Actionable eUropean ROadmap for early-life health Risk Assessment of micro- and nanoplastics ”(AURORA) and“ From the epidemiology of wastewater to the human exposure ”. The project that gave rise to these results received the support of a fellowship from ”la Caixa” Foundation (ID 100010434), the fellowship code is LCF/BQ/PR20/11770013. Also mention, the support received from Barcelona’s council. 

The latest project, led by researcher Pablo Gago Ferrero of the CSIC Institute of Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA), will analyze> 1000 maternal serum samples collected during pregnancy and> 300 placenta samples collected during childbirth. In a first pilot study of 10 maternal serum samples and 10 BiSC placenta samples analyzed with liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS), we detected a total of 43 substances of anthropogenic origin and potentially harmful, including pesticides, insect repellents, cosmetic derivatives, and a wide variety of industrial compounds (such as flame retardants, plasticizers, or perfluorides), among others. Some of these compounds were found in> 80% of the samples, such as caffeine, DEET insect repellent, or some plastic additives, such as phthalates. Others were found more sporadically, such as some herbicides, sweeteners, or products of industrial origin. Concentrations of these compounds also varied between samples. Once data from the entire BiSC cohort are available, the prevalence, determinants, and their association with infant health problems will be studied.

The text has been written by Mariona Bustamante, a researcher of the BiSC project and Pablo Gago a collaborator of BiSC from the IDAEA.