The Ethical Aspects of Exposome Research: A Systematic Review

Exposome research has emerged as a cutting-edge field for investigating human health and disease using big-data techniques, smart sensors, and multi-omics technologies. However, despite its potential benefits, the ethical considerations surrounding exposome research have not been widely discussed in the literature. To address this gap, PhD student and EXPANSE researcher Caspar Safarlou (UMC Utrecht) and colleagues conducted a systematic review of academic literature to explore the ethical aspects of exposome research. Their search yielded nine articles, none of which delved deeply into the ethics of exposome research.

By systematically evaluating related fields, the researchers identified five ethical themes that frequently arise in discussions of exposome research, including its goals, standards, tools, impact on participants, and consequences of its products. They identified three aspects of exposome research that require further ethical reflection, including the actionability of its findings, epidemiological or clinical norms, and potential for bias.