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$15,673 pledged of $50,000 goal
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By MyExposome
$15,673 pledged of $50,000 goal
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About

Know your personal chemical exposure!

Making the invisible visible—that’s the goal of MyExposome. We all live in a world filled with chemicals. Some good for us, some perhaps irrelevant, and some for sure are not good for us at all! But until today, you couldn’t measure your personal exposure to those chemicals. This Kickstarter campaign will empower you—by bringing you state of the art science—to understand your unique environment. We will provide you with a patent-pending light-weight non-intrusive wristband that mimics your exposure to chemicals. We will then analyze your wristband to determine the chemicals you were exposed to in your environment.

MyExposome Wristband
MyExposome Wristband

We have lots to say to explain this unique Kickstarter but... as an important datapoint we want to show you the 1400+ chemicals that are included in our tests.  Check this out:  www.myexposome.com/testedchems or click this image below....

Top of the list of chemicals... click to see the list
Top of the list of chemicals... click to see the list

History:

Dr. Kim Anderson and Dr. Steven O’Connell jointly invented a revolutionary way of finding a person’s individual chemical exposure. The prior technologies were bulky, expensive electronic monitors that were uncomfortable / unsightly to wear and tracked a very limited number of chemicals. Kim and Steven's innovation was the creation of a patent-pending special material which can be worn as a light-weight non-intrusive “rubber” wristband.  An integral part of this technology is a series of tests against that wristband which can help determine many of the chemicals which the person wearing that wristband were exposed to in their environment. Kim and Steven wrote up their findings and published in a respected scientific journal (with the results being picked up by national news sources):

Published Research (click to see article)
Published Research (click to see article)

In July of last year we created a company (MyExposome, Inc.) with the vision of taking this technology, which was just beginning to be used by researchers and scientists, and making it available to the general public. We brought together four people (Dr. Kim Anderson, Dr. Steven O’Connell, Kevin Hobbie, and our CEO Marc Epstein). We are all passionate about our mission to help “citizen scientists” (also known as “regular people”) learn more about their environmental exposure to chemicals.

Project Idea:

How did the idea for this project originate? Even before we officially started the company we were talking to our friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances about this cool new technology. People really really wanted to know what their own chemical exposures were! Common questions were:

  • "My mom is worried about chemicals in the house, can you help?” 
  • “How can I get a bracelet?” 
  • “What chemicals am I absorbing while recreating at my local river?”
  • “How do I sign up for a study?” 
  • “My husband is very concerned about what chemicals I am exposed to at my job, can you test that?” 
  • "What chemicals are my kids exposed to when I'm not watching?"
  • And on and on and on…   

One problem, of course, is that while all these questions are excellent, they do not necessarily fit neatly into an ongoing piece of scientific research. It turns out that people’s desire to know is ahead of scientists’ willingness to launch research studies.

We realized that if we could harness the power of social media and the internet to connect with people who really wanted to know what chemicals they were exposed to in their daily life, we could get a big enough group of individuals together to make it economically viable to do all these tests.

We are very sure of our capacity to deliver against the promises we are making and we're happy to stake our reputations on it (you'll find our names and other pertinent information listed in this Kickstarter). The science is proven (the simple little rubber wristbands really do let us track the chemicals in your environment) and we have arrangements in place to have access to appropriate lab facilities to run the complex analytics needed to generate all this data.

Project Process (and costs):

A word about costs and our overall process: Ahhhhhhhhhhh! It turns out that the underlying science is still pretty expensive. When people first sequenced the human genome it cost about 100 million dollars, today this can be done for less than 10,000 dollars.

NIH data on costs of the human genome
NIH data on costs of the human genome

While we do not anticipate a cost reduction of this magnitude, our goal is to make this technology generally available at reasonable price points. We believe that with enough demand that will happen but, for now, there are a lot of expenses. We were forced to make this Kickstarter pretty pricey for those who want to be wearing one of the inaugural set of wristbands we analyze. What are those costs? Well, here’s a list:

  • We need to acquire the raw wristband materials (that’s pretty darn cheap!) 
  • We need to clean/modify/prepare and test the materials to create the specialized band which will properly record the chemicals in the environment. This is expensive both in terms of the equipment needed to manufacture the bands and also the time and effort from highly trained science lab personnel to run the processes necessary to create these bands. EVENTUALLY we can automate much more of this, and one of the goals of the Kickstarter is to get volume going so we can start thinking about automation and driving costs down…-but right now, the scientific lab work makes it very expensive.  
  • We need to seal the wristbands in an impermeable bag and mail it out to you (the bag is Teflon, not a regular Ziploc, because we can’t let any chemicals contaminate the band during the mail process!).
  • Then, you’re going to unseal the bag, wear the wristband for one week, reseal up the wristband in the original bag, and mail it back to us.  
  • Once we have the wristbands back from you, we need to enter all the information which you give us into a database... this is a manual process but since we’re not taking salaries (trying to keep costs low) that doesn't really add to the cost. 
  • Then, the real work starts. We need to process each wristband separately and to do this we work with an outsourced laboratory (we’re currently using a lab at Oregon State University) so we, and everyone else, can have confidence in the scientific validity of the results. The lab will process each wristband to create an extract and process each extract on specialized equipment. A scientist will then read and interpret individual results to correctly categorize each chemical in each wristband. This takes time, effort, and money. We wish it were free! But it’s not. (as a side note, this is also one of the reasons we need the Kickstarter: You can’t do this one-or-two at a time…-you need a BUNCH of wristbands to make the cost at all economical. This Kickstarter lets us find like-minded people all around the country who “just want to know!”)  
  • Then we have the fun part of the process:  The results!! We will prepare a personalized report for each wristband wearer. It will show you all the chemicals you were exposed to (from the set of 1400 that we test, not every chemical in the world but many interesting ones!). It will also show you how your exposure compares to other participants (including our own: we intend to participate in the trial ourselves!) We are not going to be able to tell you “exactly how much” of each chemical. That would require yet another series of tests some of which we haven’t invented yet! HOWEVER: For the Platinum members (who are getting the base 1400+ test as well as the specialized Flame Retardant test) we will provide measurement (in nanograms-per-gram) for tested Flame Retardants.

Sample Output:

We’re still working out exactly what the “results” of these tests will look like and how they will be presented and delivered. Once you’re a Kickstarter supporter, you can help us think about this. Some open questions we hope to solicit your advice on: How do we best display the results? Do we send the results via regular mail in an envelope with a multi-page printout or do we send the results via an email or through a secure web-link that brings each person his/her own results? Should we send out spreadsheets or PDFs or both?  How much “other information” should we provide on the chemicals that are found?

Having said that, our CEO (Marc) wore a wristband for a week and did a trial run to test the system.

Here is a sample report of Chemical Exposure findings on Marc: 

Hi (insert your name here, we’re going to use Marc for now):

Below, Marc, is a chart showing what chemicals were found on your wristband. We have compared what was found on your wristband to some other wristbands in this study. There are many possible points of comparison regarding your wristband. 

 We noticed your wristband was one of only three showing the presence of “Di-n-butyl phthalate”. We would direct you to some information on this chemical from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment which has issued a report regarding this chemical: Prop 65 Link for this Chemical.  Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency developed the IRIS Program which provides science-based human health assessments to support the Agency’s regulatory activities. The link to this substance can be found here: Iris Link to this Chemical  .

 <<< ETC ETC ETC as we work through all the chemicals of interest found on Marc's wristband and provide links to information on those chemicals from authoritative sources.  It will be a lot of work, and part of this Kickstarter process, to provide the most accurate information we can about each chemical found on any tested wristband>>> 

Marc, using information from real-world users we can compare your exposure to others using a growing database of what chemicals individuals across the United States are exposed to. Here is more information regarding how your results differ from others. Here is one summary view with your wristband (using the anonymous identifier "A140392" we use to shield your identity) compared with some other “sample” wristband data.

Sample Chart showing Chemicals Found
Sample Chart showing Chemicals Found

What is up with Flame Retardants?

I hope we have explained above that our initial offering in this Kickstarter, and the big thing we're trying to get right and work on here is the ability to use these wristbands to allow lots of people to learn which of our current set of over 1400 chemicals they are exposed to in the air they breathe or the water they swim in. 

You'll see in our "rewards" section that we're adding an additional very interesting test focused exclusively on "Flame Retardants".  

This flame retardant test is different in a fundamental way from the 1400+ screen.  It is designed to focus exclusively on Flame Retardants, tends to be more sensitive (and therefore even more accurate), and it provides not just an indication of WHAT chemicals we find but also of "how much" of that chemical we find.  So we'll be able to tell you not just that "you had chemical XYZ and you were the only one of our wristband wearers that had it" but rather "You were one of 10 people who had ABC and you had 10 times more than any other user"  (or, obviously, 10 times less!).

Why did we choose Flame Retardants.  Well-...-first it is something where the basic science behind the tests is already done so we know we can do it (of course) but more importantly because we believe Flame Retardants really are an important, and overlooked and understudied, part of the chemical mix we live in.  

Flame retardants are high production volume chemicals that are incorporated into building materials, polyurethane foam, and electronic products to meet flammability standards.  Flame retardants leach from these products and enter the indoor environment where they accumulate in house (and car) dust and in human tissues. Their widespread occurrence, ability to bioaccumulate, and concerns about their toxicity led the European Union to ban the marketing and use of a specific group of flame retardants called pentaBDEs and octaBDEs about 10 years ago. Two years later, the European Union included decaBDE technical mixtures (containing primarily BDE-209) to these restrictions. During this same time period, manufacturers in the United States also voluntarily ceased production of pentaBDE and many states adopted legislation to ban the manufacture and distribution of commercial products containing pentaBDE and octaBDE.7 Additionally, the United Nations Environmental Programme has included tetraBDE, pentaBDE, hexaBDE, and heptaBDE to the inventory of chemicals monitored through the Stockholm Convention.

Since these restrictions have gone into effect, data indicates that PBDEs are still detected frequently in the environment and in biomonitoring studies. Restrictions on PBDEs, however, has led to an increased use of organocphosphate flame retardants. Studies have detected organophosphate flame retardants in ambient air, indoor air, water, house dust and car dust, and human breast milk indicating that these compounds are pervasive in the environment and human exposure is occurring. We believe the wristband are a useful way to measure an individual’s exposure to flame retardants and they will help us all develop valuable data about the common exposures to this group of compounds. So we picked them as the first group of chemicals to think about studying here with this trial.   

Although the 1400+ chemicals was too long to list here (so we gave you a URL) the list of 47 Flame Retardants fits here so... here is the list we're currently planning on testing against along with their chemical ID number (CAS Number):

  • 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (35109-60-5)  
  • Di(2-ethylhexyl)tetrabromophthalate,  (26040-51-7)
  • PBDE 1 (7025-06-1)  
  • PBDE 10 (51930-04-2)  
  • PBDE 100 (189084-64-8)  
  • PBDE 11 (6903-63-5)  
  • PBDE 116 (189084-65-9)  
  • PBDE 118 (446254-80-4)
  •  PBDE 119 (189084-66-0)
  • PBDE 12 (189084-59-1)  
  • PBDE 13 (83694-71-7)  
  • PBDE 138 (182677-30-1)  
  • PBDE 15 (2050-47-7)  
  • PBDE 153 (68631-49-2)  
  • PBDE 154 (207122-15-4)  
  • PBDE 166 (189084-58-0)  
  • PBDE 17 (147217-75-2)  
  • PBDE 181 (189084-67-1 )  
  • PBDE 183 (207122-16-5)  
  • PBDE 190 (189084-68-1)  
  • PBDE 2 (6876-00-2) 
  • PBDE 25 (147217-77-4) 
  • PBDE 3 (101-55-3) 
  • PBDE 30 (155999-95-4) 
  • PBDE 32 (189084-60-4) 
  • PBDE 35 (147217-80-9) 
  • PBDE 37 (147217-81-0) 
  • PBDE 47 (5436-43-1) 
  • PBDE 49 (243982-82-3) 
  • PBDE 66 (189084-61-5) 
  • PBDE 7 (171977-44-9) 
  • PBDE 71 (189084-62-6) 
  • PBDE 75 (189084-63-7) 
  • PBDE 77 (93703-48-1) 
  • PBDE 8 (147217-71-8) 
  • PBDE 99 (60348-60-9) 
  • Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) (115-96-8) 
  • Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) (13674-87-8)
  • Triphenyl phosphate (TPP) (115-86-6) 
  • Tributyl phosphate (TBP) (126-73-8) 
  • Triethyl phosphate (TEP) (78-40-0) 
  • Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP) (13674-84-5) 

Stretch Goals:

To our supporters: We are looking hard at stretch goals that will add some exciting elements to this project. We want to add some additional analysis and reporting that provides a database of information. We're not yet sure about how to quantify this against specific stretch goals but, as this Kickstarter progresses, keep your eyes turned here for more information.

What we’re not doing:

We’re measuring the chemicals we can detect in your wristband. We’re providing you an exciting output showing what chemicals we detected in YOUR wristband and how that compares to others who joined the project. However we are not offering you advice of any kind or implying that any particular chemical has any specific benefit or harm. We’ll provide you links to authoritative sources on the internet regarding the specific chemicals we find. But, we are not trying to reach any conclusions or make any recommendations to you regarding what the results mean for you.

Our Team:

  • Steven G. O’Connell (steven.oconnell@myexposome.com). Steven is our Senior Scientist and one of the inventors of the core wristband/testing technology behind this Kickstarter campaign. While at MyExposome Dr. O’Connell has aided in the early stages of the enterprise, including intellectual property procurement with provisional patent (14/597,817) filing in January, 2015. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2014, after completing multiple investigations with passive sampling technologies including silicone strips in aqueous deployments, polyethylene samplers, and silicone wristbands. Dr. O'Connell has authored and co-authored 11 peer reviewed publications.
  • Marc I. Epstein (Marc.Epstein@myexposome.com). Marc is our Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder. While at MyExposome, Mr. Epstein has led the formation of the company, developed the initial businesses strategies and lead an initiative to get seed funding from an SBIR initiative (status pending) and is currently developing our data analytic and reporting software. Mr. Epstein is an expert in company creation, business development, software engineering, data mining, analysis of data, and enterprise database architecture. He is the holder of data, network, and software patents (Patent #’s 8095624, 7356734, 6892221, 6795835). Prior to joining MyExposome,  Mr. Epstein co-Founded Data Mining International: A successful data mining software company selling technology to the federal government. Mr. Epstein was a serial Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur helping raise over $180 million in venture funding, acting as Chief Technology Officer of a public software company and General Manager of a division of Novell (a Utah-based software company). Mr. Epstein is originally from AT&T Bell Laboratories and the Unix Systems Laboratory in New Jersey.  
  • Kim A. Anderson ( kim.anderson@myexposome.com). Dr. Kim Anderson is a professor at Oregon State University in the Department of Environmental & Molecular Toxicology. Dr. Anderson received her PhD in Chemistry from Washington State University in 1989. One prong of her research efforts is to optimize, develop and validate passive sampling devices for individual users/customers including companion animals and livestock, and to further illustrate and compare the novel passive samplers with conventional measures in real-world epidemiological studies. She develops robust bio-analytical tools, methods, and approaches to generate desirable objective data concerning chemical exposures of many contaminants including unmonitored contaminants. She is an expert in the field of toxicology and chemistry and holds numerous US patents and one European patent. (06/851,643, 60/793,909, 60/711,826, 09/210,358, #6,324,531, 99309933.2-2201). She has over 60 peer reviewed publications related to the technology being used by MyExposome. 
  • Kevin A. Hobbie (kevin.hobbie@myexposome.com). Kevin is a co-founder of MyExposome and supports company operations. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Food Safety & Environmental Stewardship Program at Oregon State University. Mr. Hobbie has over nine years of experience in analytical chemistry, passive sampling technology, and has managed operations in an analytical laboratory operation with over 20 staff and students. He obtained a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology at Oregon State University in 2015 and has extensive training in conducting longitudinal human health studies and statistical methodology. Mr. Hobbie’s experience with implementing laboratory data systems, managing a laboratory quality assurance program plan, and maintaining IRB compliance with regards to data privacy for human subjects is a valuable asset to the company. Mr. Hobbie has authored and co-authored six peer reviewed publications.

Risks and challenges

Frankly, our biggest obstacle is gauging if enough people interested enough in the information we can provide to reach critical mass to make this project economically viable.

We are very sure of our capacity to deliver against the promises we are making and we're happy to stake our reputations on it (you'll find our names and other pertinent information listed in this Kickstarter). The science is proven (the simple little rubber wristbands really do let us track the chemicals in your environment) and we have arrangements in place to have access to appropriate lab facilities to run the complex analytics needed to generate all this data.

Having said that, there are two interesting challenges that we will face if we are successful in signing up enough people to launch this project:

1) Managing demand so we don't get over-subscribed. We have limited the number of wristbands we need to provide per month so we’re sure we can make our objectives.

2) Interpreting all the data impartially. For every wristband we send out and receive back, we are generating over 1400 data points regarding chemicals in the environment. Painting that picture in an easy to explain way, without raising unnecessary fears (remember, not all chemicals are bad) is a tough challenge. We will accurately report all the information we find but we need to work hard to figure out, and communicate, the most accurate information we can about each chemical (or provide links to the most authoritative sources).

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $29 or more About $29

    SILVER: ENVIRONMENT-Supporter: We ship you a simple wristband with the MyExposome logo of the same kind we use in the scientific project. Unfortunately we won't take it back and test it for you.... sorry (running all this equipment is not cheap) but you'll have a memento of your funding of this personal environmental monitor project and all updated information and notices from this Kickstarter.

    We will also provide you (VERY EXCITING) an analysis of the results of all the wristbands we test. See for yourself the vast array of chemicals in our environment and the differences in our relative exposures.

    Support our attempt to make the invisible, visible by allowing citizen-scientists everywhere to have scientifically valid information about their chemical exposures.

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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    SILVER_PLUS: ENVIRONMENT-Supporter: Just like SILVER...With a personal thank you note signed by a founding team member for your support of building a key tool for citizens everywhere.

    We ship you a simple wristband with the MyExposome logo of the same kind we use in the scientific project. Unfortunately we won't take it back and test it for you.... sorry (running all this equipment is not cheap) but you'll have a memento of your funding of this personal environmental monitor project and all updated information and notices from this Kickstarter. AND you'll have a personal note from one of the founders thanking you for your support!

    We will also provide you (VERY EXCITING) an analysis of the results of all the wristbands we test. See for yourself the vast array of chemicals in our environment and the differences in our relative exposures.

    Support our attempt to make the invisible, visible by allowing citizen-scientists everywhere to have scientifically valid information about their chemical exposures.

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    3 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $995 or more About $995

    GOLD: ENVIRONMENT-1400: We ship you a MyExposome wristband, you wear it for a week and return it to us via a provided shipping envelope. Our experienced science team will conduct a 1400+ environmental chemical screen of that wristband. We will then produce a report on chemicals detected in your individual wristband along with a comparison to all other wristbands within the project. We will be testing for presence/absence of all these (http://www.myexposome.com/testedchems) chemicals.
    You will be part of a new wave of citizen scientists testing our environment, helping to fund the development of important technology, and you will begin to understand your own environmental exposures. All your personally identifiable data will be kept anonymous so only you (and our science team) will see personal results.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $996 or more About $996

    GOLD: ENVIRONMENT-1400_V2: We ship you a MyExposome wristband, you wear it for a week and return it to us via a provided shipping envelope. Our experienced science team will conduct a 1400+ environmental chemical screen of that wristband. We will then produce a report on chemicals detected in your individual wristband along with a comparison to all other wristbands within the project. We will be testing for presence/absence of all these (http://www.myexposome.com/testedchems) chemicals.
    You will be part of a new wave of citizen scientists testing our environment, helping to fund the development of important technology, and you will begin to understand your own environmental exposures. All your personally identifiable data will be kept anonymous so only you (and our science team) will see personal results.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,495 or more About $1,495

    PLATINUM: ENVIRONMENT-1400 + FLAME-RETARDANT: Full 1400+ environmental chemical screen of one wristband (see reward "ENVIRONMENT-1400") PLUS detailed flame retardant analytic showing detailed quantity for greater than 40 commonly seen polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), organophophorous flame retardants (OPFRs).
    Possible sources of flame retardants in your environment include manufacturing products that are designed to be flame resistant such as textiles, plastics, and wire insulation, as well as paints and products designed for buildings, boats, homes, aircraft or cars. While there are 209 congeners of PBDEs (similar to that of PCBs), OPFRs simply imply that these compounds are used as flame retardants and contain a phosphate group, and functional groups may be diverse.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,496 or more About $1,496

    PLATINUM: ENVIRONMENT-1400 + FLAME-RETARDANT_v2: Full 1400+ environmental chemical screen of one wristband (see reward "ENVIRONMENT-1400") PLUS detailed flame retardant analytic showing detailed quantity for greater than 40 commonly seen polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), organophophorous flame retardants (OPFRs).
    Possible sources of flame retardants in your environment include manufacturing products that are designed to be flame resistant such as textiles, plastics, and wire insulation, as well as paints and products designed for buildings, boats, homes, aircraft or cars. While there are 209 congeners of PBDEs (similar to that of PCBs), OPFRs simply imply that these compounds are used as flame retardants and contain a phosphate group, and functional groups may be diverse.

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Funding period

- (35 days)