Exposure Assessment and Epidemiological Research on

Environment, Reproduction and Development [3ERD]

Our research program addresses several major public health issues in the domain of the identification and characterization of the environmental exposures generated by human activities and their impact on the reproductive system (function and organs) and childhood development. We focus on endocrine disruptors compounds (EDCs), as well as on chemicals and microbiological agents susceptible to contribute to the developmental origin of diseases. We will also take into account social inequalities in those health domains (as risk factor or through interactions) and constitutional/genetic characteristics (through interactions).

The approach used to attain our objective is based on the establishment and performance of large-scale observational studies. These studies make it possible to test the associations between different types of exposure and health outcomes, using appropriate tools (analysis of individual or aggregated data, statistical modelling). We focus on populations or subpopulations at risk (pregnant women, children) principally in areas where the exposures of interest are prevalent (Brittany, due to the intensity of agricultural activity, the French West Indies, due to chlordecone pollution, large urban communities exposed to air pollution, etc.).

During last years, we have carried out the exploitation of data collected in two mother-child cohorts (Pelagie, Timoun) conducted in Brittany and in Guadeloupe and undertook the follow-up of children while analyzing data from the Karuprostate prostate cancer case-control study in Guadeloupe. We are currently developping  new lines of research on the assessment of environmental inequities in infant health, and on assessment of childhood environmental exposures and their determinants for tackling complex issues such as exposure to chemical mixtures. We pursue the two mother-child cohorts for assessing growth, sexual and neurobehavioral development at puberty age. New projects are implemented to study male and female infertility and environmental determinants of aggressiveness and evolution of prostate cancer. Social and environmental inequalities at fine geographic and/or individual scales of analysis will be investigated in relation with perinatal outcomes and breast cancer in urban areas. To improve assessment of exposures during pregnancy and childhood, we will enhance our approach for characterizing multiple exposures based on NMR-metabolomics tools coupled to High Performance Chromatography and High Resolution Mass Spectrometry to identify and quantify environmental toxicants in cord blood and urines. We will conduct also surveys focused on indoor environments in order to identify the sources of chemical and microbiological agents contributing most to childhood exposures, and will explore factors affecting bio-accessibility.

Our research is developed along five axes:

  1. Environmental exposures early in life development and child health
  2. Environmental exposures, genetic factors and prostate cancer
  3. Environmental exposures, male and female fertility
  4. Social and environmental inequities, reproduction and developmental health: community analyses
  5. Environmental exposures assessment for pregnancy and childhood