One of the main impediments to understanding environmental drivers of disease is having an accurate assessment of exposure. This article shows why this barrier is beginning to vanish by detailing Stanford professor Michael Snyder’s work in personal exposure monitoring.
While still early in development, the simultaneous measurement of the parade of chemical exposures humans are exposed to (known as the “exposome”) yields a trove of data that will likely lead to two significant advancements:
- High quality personal exposure monitoring outside of occupational settings. This is a nascent science today. Breakthroughs in this field of science are altering our understanding of the pervasiveness of chemical exposures.
- Improved ability to attribute disease to chemical exposures. Personal exposure monitoring combined with personalized medicine can be used to prove the links between exposure and disease in ways that might rival the certainty of our knowledge of genetic causes of disease.
Many of Praedicat’s liability disaster scenarios hypothesize that scientists will be able to link individual exposures to specific diseases in a more certain way. Personal exposure monitoring may one day provide the data needed to establish the missing link in a plaintiff’s case.
Snyder said that the location of a person drives the variation of species, and the time of year is probably the second most important factor for the kinds of species in the air. Strikingly, the study found the insecticide DEET in almost every sample, and trips to agricultural areas generated a spike in pesticide exposures.