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Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Aug 7;52(15):8801-8810. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b01467. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

Toward Capturing the Exposome: Exposure Biomarker Variability and Coexposure Patterns in the Shared Environment.

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Department of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School , Harvard University , 10 Shattuck Street , Boston , Massachusetts 02115 , United States.
Division of Environmental Health Sciences Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and Department of Environmental Health Sciences , The University at Albany , Albany , New York 12201 , United States.
Office of the Director, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development , The National Institutes of Health , 6710b Rockledge Drive , Bethesda , Maryland 20892 , United States.


Many factors affect the variation in the exposome. We examined the influence of shared household and partner's sex in relation to the variation in 128 endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) exposures among couples. In a cohort comprising of 501 couples trying for pregnancy, we measured 128 (13 chemical classes) persistent and nonpersistent EDCs and estimated 1) sex-specific differences; 2) variance explained by shared household; and 3) Spearman's rank correlation coefficients ( rs) for females, males, and couples' exposures. Sex was correlated with 8 EDCs including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) ( p < 0.05). Shared household explained 43% and 41% of the total variance for PFASs and blood metals, respectively, but less than 20% for the remaining 11 EDC classes. Coexposure patterns of the exposome were similar between females and males, with within-class rs higher for persistent than for nonpersistent chemicals. Median rss of polybrominated compounds and urine metalloids were 0.45 and 0.09, respectively, for females (0.41 and 0.08 for males; 0.21 and 0.04 for couples). Our findings suggest that individual, rather than shared environment, could be a major factor influencing the covariation of the exposome. Understanding the correlations of exposures has important analytical and sampling implications for exposomics research.

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