A Scoping Review of Technologies and Their Applicability for Exposome-Based Risk Assessment in the Oil and Gas Industry

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Abstract

Introduction: Oil and gas workers have been shown to be at increased risk of chronic diseases including cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hearing loss, among others. Technological advances may be used to assess the external (e.g. personal sensors, smartphone apps and online platforms, exposure models) and internal exposome (e.g. physiologically based kinetic modeling (PBK), biomonitoring, omics), offering numerous possibilities for chronic disease prevention strategies and risk management measures. The objective of this study was to review the literature on these technologies, by focusing on: (i) evaluating their applicability for exposome research in the oil and gas industry, and (ii) identifying key challenges that may hamper the successful application of such technologies in the oil and gas industry. Method: A scoping review was conducted by identifying peer-reviewed literature with searches in MEDLINE/PubMed and SciVerse Scopus. Two assessors trained on the search strategy screened retrieved articles on title and abstract. The inclusion criteria used for this review were: Application of the aforementioned technologies at a workplace in the oil and gas industry or, application of these technologies for an exposure relevant to the oil and gas industry but in another occupational sector, English language and publication period 2005-end of 2019. Results: In total, 72 articles were included in this scoping review with most articles focused on omics and bioinformatics (N = 22), followed by biomonitoring and biomarkers (N = 20), external exposure modeling (N = 11), PBK modeling (N = 10), and personal sensors (N = 9). Several studies were identified in the oil and gas industry on the application of PBK models and biomarkers, mainly focusing on workers exposed to benzene. The application of personal sensors, new types of exposure models, and omics technology are still in their infancy with respect to the oil and gas industry. Nevertheless, applications of these technologies in other occupational sectors showed the potential for application in this sector. Discussion and conclusion: New exposome technologies offer great promise for personal monitoring of workers in the oil and gas industry, but more applied research is needed in collaboration with the industry. Current challenges hindering a successful application of such technologies include (i) the technological readiness of sensors, (ii) the availability of data, (iii) the absence of standardized and validated methods, and (iv) the need for new study designs to study the development of disease during working life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1028
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Volume65
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • biomonitoring and biomarkers
  • exposome
  • external exposure modeling
  • oil and gas industry
  • omics and bioinformatics
  • personalized sensors
  • physiologically-based kinetic (PBK) modeling
  • technologies and tools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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