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Water Contamination

EXPOsOMICS makes use of existing short-term experimental studies (STS) and of long-term population studies (MCO and ALTS). For the short-term scale (PISCINA study) direct measurements of specific chemicals and mixtures in water have mainly been used, while for the life-course studies a combination of models with measurements for validation purposes, smart phone technology, extensive use of databases, remote sensing and land use maps are used. The European-based estimates will be obtained further through systematic use of regional and national databases for disinfection by-products (DBPs).

Personal and micro-environmental exposure measurements

In the PISCINA swimming pool study, external exposure measurements include determination of an expanded range of disinfection by-products (DBP) (trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, MX, chloramines, haloacetonitriles), overcoming traditional approaches that measure only trihalomethanes. These chemicals have been measured in air and water and/or in biological samples such as exhaled breath (e.g. trihalomethanes) and urine (haloacetic acids) from study subjects. The external exposome is complemented with omic analyses and supported (for phenotypic anchoring) by in vitro assays such as the Salmonella (Ames) mutagenicity test and mammalian cell chronic and acute cytotoxicity and the SCGE (comet) assay. Biological samples (blood, urine, exhaled breath condensate) have been obtained immediately before and after swimming in the pool. Repeated biological samples have been collected after swimming to cover different formation/elimination kinetics of biomarkers, thus contributing to an improved quantitative evaluation of internal exposures.

Long-term exposure assessment

In the mother-child cohorts, external exposure measurement includes determinations of a range of DBP chemicals in drinking water (trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, MX, haloacetonitriles). Measurements for some of these chemicals are available from the EU-funded HiWate project (

In the colorectal cancer study (MCC), exposure modeling of DBPs is based on the evaluation of lifetime residential history together with the collection of historical information on DBPs in the relevant regions and water toxicity testing from the short-term studies.

European-wide water-borne exposure models for health risk assessment

Exposure to specific DBPs is derived for European populations from routinely collected information in each country. These data, not centrally available in the EU, come from focus contact points in each country (expanding work completed in INTARESE, and HiWate). In addition a theoretical framework for future routine evaluation of water contaminant information in Europe is proposed.