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Assessing CHILdren Exposure to environmental chemicals using target and non-target strategies – ACHILE

Assessing population exposure to emerging environmental contaminants using target and non-target analytical strategies

Exposures to environmental chemicals are an important societal concern due to their negative impact on human health, particularly during critical periods of development (e.g. embryonic, fetal, infancy). A robust characterization of the population’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals is essential in the identification of associations between chemical exposure and human diseases.

The objective is to develop and apply innovative analytical methodologies based on target and non-target analysis to determine the level, frequency and profile of environmental exposure in children.

Assessing human exposure to chemicals can be carried out by measuring chemicals or their biomarkers in human specimens. This approach allows an aggregate measure of exposure that provides a picture of the amount of chemicals absorbed into the body considering all routes of uptake and all sources. A real challenge in assessing exposure is the increasing number of chemicals that are produced, marketed and released and to which humans are exposed. Worldwide, more than three thousand industrial chemicals are produced in over one million of kilograms per year, more than 85000 chemicals are in commerce and several hundreds of new chemicals are registered every year. To meet the challenge of a better characterization of human exposure to environmental chemicals the development and application of multi-residues methods and non-target strategies are required to detect the presence of a broad range of chemicals and to allow the identification of new potentially harmful substances or/and biomarkers of environmental exposure.

A selective, sensitive and multi-class analytical method will be developed using ultra high performance liquid chromatography coupled with a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer to assess children exposure levels to a broad range of selected contaminants presenting recent health concerns (New Bisphenols, organophosphorus flame retardants, benzotriazoles etc.). Non-target strategies using high resolution mass spectrometry (Quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer) will be performed on selected urine samples to investigate for emerging contaminants and biomarkers of exposure based on suspected screening through commercial and in-house databases and on the development of filtering strategies. Human in-vitro metabolites of emerging contaminants will be generated using liver microsoms and identified using high resolution mass spectrometry in collaboration with the Toxicological center at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Over the short time progress of the project (13 months), collaborations with national and international research team have been developed. Methodologies for biological and environmental samples collection have been established and the application for ethic approval is underway. The research engineer, employed through the project since 1st September 2017, is assisting in the development of a multi-residue method using a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer to quantify a broad range of selected contaminants of emerging concern (New bisphenols, organophosphorus flame retardants, benzotriazoles, etc.) in biological (urine) and environmental matrices (indoor dust). The experiments of human in-vitro metabolism have been conducted to study the metabolites of selected emerging contaminants as a collaborative work with the Toxicological center at the university of Antwerp in Belgium. Human in vitro metabolites have been identified and will be further investigated in-vivo samples to assess the possibility to use the newly identified metabolites as a relevant biomarkers of environmental exposures.

The future focus will be on establishing a non-target workflow using liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer to investigate biological matrices for emerging contaminants and biomarkers of exposure based on suspected screening through commercial and in-house databases and on the development of filtering strategies. The future focus will also be the application of the multi-residus method developed to assess environmental exposure of infants and children. This study will establish the background level in this vulnerable subpopulation in France and investigate the intra-inter variability in exposure level.

Four manuscripts are under review; this section will be updated as soon as the publications will be accepted and published.

Exposures to environmental chemicals are an important societal concern because of their impact on human health, particularly during critical periods of development (embryonic, fetal, infancy etc). The characterisation of children’s exposure to environmental chemicals is an important need for epidemiology studies and risk assessment. However, data on exposure in infants and children are very limited.

The general goal of the ACHILE project is to develop and apply innovative analytical methodologies based on target and non-target analysis to determine the level, frequency and profile of environmental exposure during critical period of children development in France. First, a sensitive, selective and multi-class analytical method will be developed to assess exposure levels in French children to a broad range of selected contaminants presenting new health concern (New Bisphenols, organophosphorus flame retardants, pyrethroids pesticides). The application of this method will be done on existing longitudinal cohorts to establish the baseline level in French young population. The potential association with adverse health effects during early age exposure will be established through collaboration with an epidemiology team. Then, a non-target screening will be performed on selected children urine samples using high-resolution mass spectrometry to look for potential contaminants using a home-made library. Finally metabolomic strategy will be used for identification of new biomarkers of exposure in pregnant women living in area highly exposed to xeno-oestrogens.

This 3-year project is a great opportunity for Christine Baduel (PI) to bring her skills in analytical chemistry and biomonitoring from Australia to France. Since her PhD obtained in 2010, C. Baduel has led an independent and international research in analytical chemistry applied to environmental and health issues. ISA (Lyon) now offers ideal conditions for the PI of this project to build up a meaningful career in France.

Project coordinator

Madame christine baduel (Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

IGE Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement
ISA Institut des Sciences Analytiques

Help of the ANR 399,541 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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