Comprehensive Assessment of Local Population Chemical Exposome by Combination of Organic Pollutant- and Metal-Multi-Residue Analysis in Hair

Alba Iglesias-González*, Charline Schaeffer, Georges Dahm, Emilie M. Hardy, Achilleas Pexaras, Paul Palazzi, Brice M.R. Appenzeller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Awareness of the adverse effects of exposure to pollutant mixtures, possibly much more severe than individual chemicals, has drawn attention towards the necessity of using multi-residue methods to obtain the most possible comprehensive information on exposome. Among the different biological matrices used for exposure assessment, hair enables to detect the largest number of chemicals, including many classes such as persistent pollutants, hydrophilic metabolites and metals. Most biomonitoring studies are however focused on a limited number of pollutants and only give a partial information on exposure. Combining several multi-residue methods, the present study aimed at assessing the exposure of a population to an extensive variety of chemicals by hair analysis. One hair sample was collected from each participant (55 children and 134 adults). Samples were analysed with three different multi-residue methods, targeting, respectively, 152 organic pollutants (pesticides, PCBs, bisphenols, PBDEs), 62 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metabolites, nicotine and cotinine and 36 metals. From 33 to 70 organic chemicals were detected in each child’s hair sample, and from 34 up to 74 in adults. From 7 to 26 PAH were detected per child, and 7 to 21 in adults. Twenty-three to 27 metals were detected per child and 21 to 28 per adult. The highest median concentration were observed for zinc (143 μg /mg in children; 164 μg /mg in adults), bisphenol A (95.9 pg/mg in children; 64.7 pg/mg in adults) and nicotine (66.4 pg/mg in children; 51.9 pg/mg in adults). The present study provides the most comprehensive exposure assessment ever and highlights the simultaneous exposure to multiple classes of pollutants in the general population. The results support the use of multi-residue methods for future studies on exposure-associated effects, to document exposome and better consider the effect of chemical mixtures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-712
Number of pages28
JournalExposure and Health
Issue number3
Early online date10 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Biomonitoring
  • Exposome
  • Hair analysis
  • Metals
  • Multi-residue methods
  • Organic pollutants


Dive into the research topics of 'Comprehensive Assessment of Local Population Chemical Exposome by Combination of Organic Pollutant- and Metal-Multi-Residue Analysis in Hair'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this