Although experience from the application of OMICS technologies in population-based environmental health studies is still relatively limited, the accumulated evidence shows that it can allow the identification of features (genes, proteins, and metabolites), or sets of such features, which are targeted by particular exposures or correlate with disease risk. Such features or profiles can therefore serve as biomarkers of exposure or disease risk. Blood-based OMIC profiles appear to reflect to some extent events occurring in target tissues and are associated with toxicity or disease and therefore have the potential to facilitate the elucidation of exposure-disease relationships. Further progress in this direction requires better understanding of the significance of exposure-induced network perturbations for disease initiation and progression and the development of a framework that combines agnostic searches with the utilization of prior knowledge, taking account of particular elements which characterize the structure and evolution of complex systems and brings in principles of systems biology. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 54:468-479, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.