The WHO has ranked environmental hazardous exposures in the living and working environment among the top risk factors for chronic disease mortality. Worldwide, about 40 million people die each year from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cancer, diabetes, and chronic cardiovascular, neurological and lung diseases. The exposure to ambient pollution in the living and working environment is exacerbated by individual susceptibilities and lifestyle-driven factors to produce complex and complicated NCD etiologies. Research addressing the links between environmental exposure and disease prevalence is key for prevention of the pandemic increase in NCD morbidity and mortality. However, the long latency, the chronic course of some diseases and the necessity to address cumulative exposures over very long periods does mean that it is often difficult to identify causal environmental exposures. EU-funded COST Action DiMoPEx is developing new concepts for a better understanding of health-environment (including gene-environment) interactions in the etiology of NCDs. The overarching idea is to teach and train scientists and physicians to learn how to include efficient and valid exposure assessments in their research and in their clinical practice in current and future cooperative projects. DiMoPEx partners have identified some of the emerging research needs, which include the lack of evidence-based exposure data and the need for human-equivalent animal models mirroring human lifespan and low-dose cumulative exposures. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach incorporating seven working groups, DiMoPEx will focus on aspects of air pollution with particulate matter including dust and fibers and on exposure to low doses of solvents and sensitizing agents. Biomarkers of early exposure and their associated effects as indicators of disease-derived information will be tested and standardized within individual projects. Risks arising from some NCDs, like pneumoconioses, cancers and allergies, are predictable and preventable. Consequently, preventative action could lead to decreasing disease morbidity and mortality for many of the NCDs that are of major public concern. DiMoPEx plans to catalyze and stimulate interaction of scientists with policy-makers in attacking these exposure-related diseases.
- Environmental/occupational exposure to xenobiotics
- Human biomonitoring
- Noncommunicable diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety Research
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health