Operationalizing the Exposome Using Passive Silicone Samplers

Zoe Coates Fuentes, Yuri Levin Schwartz, Anna R. Robuck, Douglas I. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The exposome, which is defined as the cumulative effect of environmental exposures and corresponding biological responses, aims to provide a comprehensive measure for evaluating non-genetic causes of disease. Operationalization of the exposome for environmental health and precision medicine has been limited by the lack of a universal approach for characterizing complex exposures, particularly as they vary temporally and geographically. To overcome these challenges, passive sampling devices (PSDs) provide a key measurement strategy for deep exposome phenotyping, which aims to provide comprehensive chemical assessment using untargeted high-resolution mass spectrometry for exposome-wide association studies. To highlight the advantages of silicone PSDs, we review their use in population studies and evaluate the broad range of applications and chemical classes characterized using these samplers. We assess key aspects of incorporating PSDs within observational studies, including the need to preclean samplers prior to use to remove impurities that interfere with compound detection, analytical considerations, and cost. We close with strategies on how to incorporate measures of the external exposome using PSDs, and their advantages for reducing variability in exposure measures and providing a more thorough accounting of the exposome. Continued development and application of silicone PSDs will facilitate greater understanding of how environmental exposures drive disease risk, while providing a feasible strategy for incorporating untargeted, high-resolution characterization of the external exposome in human studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Pollution Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Exposome
  • Exposure assessment
  • High-resolution mass spectrometry
  • Precision medicine
  • Silicone wristband samplers


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