Symposium “Chemical Exposome and Public Health” in Brussels: the concept “One Health” at the heart of European decision-makers’ discussions

In the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Université de Rennes 1 and the EHESP School of Public Health, in partnership with the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) invite European decision makers to reunite in Brussels on March 15 at the symposium Chemical Exposome and Public Health: A Scientific Challenge to Take Up as Part of the “One Health” European Strategy.
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The “One Health” concept discussed at the European level

This scientific event, hosted at the Maison Irène et Frédéric Joliot-Curie, the premises of the new French hub for higher education in Brussels and organised in the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European, will gather academics, researchers, public health professionals and policy-makers to discuss the “One Health” concept. This concept focuses on the human, animal and environment interface in order to promote a multidisciplinary and global approach to health issues and health hazards.

Supported by France Universités, this symposium aims to present the steps to be undertaken and the barriers to be removed in France, in Europe and in the world, to better understand and describe this concept, widely highlighted during the health crisis. It will provide a public health perspective on the chemical exposome. The objective is to better understand and describe human exposure to certain environmental risk factors in order to limit the consequences on public health.

France Exposome

On this occasion, the particular involvement of France and the Brittany region will be highlighted by presenting the role of certain actors - and particularly of the Research Institute for Environmental and Occupational Health (IRSET), a joint research unit of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the Université de Rennes 1 and EHESP School of Public Health, which has been the headquarters of the national research infrastructure “France exposome” since last autumn. This national research infrastructure led by INSERM will build and drive the scientific community on the discovery of the human chemical exposome. France Exposome is a network of five French laboratories or technological platforms. Each platform has a set of mass spectrometry-type equipment and know-how to conduct to this research. It is also the French node of a European infrastructure dedicated to the exposome: EIRENE.

France Exposome is introduced in the video interview below by Vincent Bessonneau, Director of the Laboratory for Research and Study in Environment and Health (LERES) and the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the EHESP School of Public Health where he is professor.


 At the symposium, Michel Samson, Research Director at INSERM and Director of IRSET, will introduce France Exposome to European decision-makers. He comments:

The aim of this symposium is to examine the technological and conceptual obstacles to be tackled in France and in Europe, in line with international trends, in the context of research infrastructures dedicated to understanding and decoding the human chemical exposome. This symposium, addressed to French and European decision-makers, should raise awareness of the chemical exposome in the field of public health. It will highlight the need to finance large-scale equipment in France and Europe that is necessary to conduct analyses on the chemical exposome, as well as the recruitment of engineers and technicians capable of managing and monitoring this hi-tech equipment.

The event will be broadcast live on the YouTube channels of the Université de Rennes 1 and EHESP.

The exposome: a revolutionary concept for biomonitoring

Developed in the 2000s, the exposome concept has revolutionised scientists' approach and methodology for measuring and monitoring human exposure to chemical pollutants.
As explained by Michel Samson:

The exposome is the totality of the environmental exposures to which humans are exposed throughout their lives, through our diet, the air we breathe, the radiation in the atmosphere, our behaviour, or our environment in the general context that can include noise, socio-economic and psychological factors. The interest in investigating the human exposome is that this exposome is involved in the occurrence of many non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, cancers or chronic respiratory diseases and many others. Once this has been understood, and it will take years of research to do so, we can help to put in place public policies for prevention to reduce the population's exposure to these environmental factors that are most harmful to human health

Given the numerous exposures to be considered, research on the exposome is structured into sections aimed at examining a particular aspect of the exposures to which we are exposed. France Exposome focuses on the chemical exposome, as described by Michel Samson:

The chemical exposome is a part of the exposome, which is concerned with human exposure to chemical molecules, in other words to a whole range of different pollutants such as pesticides, fine particles from industrial or automotive fuels, or to contaminants of natural origin such as mycotoxins from fungi or heavy metals. At IRSET, we address it through epidemiological research that considers the exposure ofthe general population or of certain categories of the population (for example, pregnant women) to chemical pollutants. We benefit from the analytical activity of the LERES platform, which gives us a high capacity to decode the chemical exposome through the analysis of human biological samples.