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The hidden threat

Our modern environment is linked to a rise in chronic diseases. Image: Shutterstock/estherpoon
Our modern environment is linked to a rise in chronic diseases. Image: Shutterstock/estherpoon

Why is the modern world making us ill? In this issue, Horizon examines the emerging field of exposomics, which looks for answers in the hidden world around us.

Chronic diseases such as cancer and asthma are on the rise in the developed world, and researchers are zeroing in on the elements in our environment that are to blame.

Horizon speaks to the research projects involved in the EU Exposome Initiative which are assessing the exposure of over 100 000 EU citizens to potential health risks in their surroundings, and finds out how the air inside modern offices could be playing havoc with our health.

We also learn about a study seeking to establish the effects of environment on life expectancy by comparing the health of adult twins, and discover why being too clean could give your children diabetes.

In our September issue, we interview Dr Chris Wild, the cancer scientist who first proposed that the best way to tackle chronic disease would be to study the totality of non-genetic factors that we are exposed to. He explains why more international research collaboration in the field is needed.