Integrated Environmental Assessment Part III: ExposureAssessment

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Human exposure assessment is a key step in estimating the environmental and public health burdens that result chemical emissions in the life cycle of an industrial product or service. This column presents the third in a series of overviews of the state of the art in integrated environmental assessment - earlier columns described emissions estimation (Frey and Small, 2003) and fate and transport modeling (Ramaswami, et al., 2004). When combined, these first two assessment elements provide estimates of ambient concentrations in the environment. Here we discuss how both models and measurements are used to translate ambient concentrations into metrics of ... continued below

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McKone, Thomas E. & Small, Mitchell J. June 1, 2006.

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Description

Human exposure assessment is a key step in estimating the environmental and public health burdens that result chemical emissions in the life cycle of an industrial product or service. This column presents the third in a series of overviews of the state of the art in integrated environmental assessment - earlier columns described emissions estimation (Frey and Small, 2003) and fate and transport modeling (Ramaswami, et al., 2004). When combined, these first two assessment elements provide estimates of ambient concentrations in the environment. Here we discuss how both models and measurements are used to translate ambient concentrations into metrics of human and ecological exposure, the necessary precursors to impact assessment. Exposure assessment is the process of measuring and/or modeling the magnitude, frequency and duration of contact between a potentially harmful agent and a target population, including the size and characteristics of that population (IPCS, 2001; Zartarian, et al., 2005). Ideally the exposure assessment process should characterize the sources, routes, pathways, and uncertainties in the assessment. Route of exposure refers to the way that an agent enters the receptor during an exposure event. Humans contact pollutants through three routes--inhalation, ingestion, and dermal uptake. Inhalation occurs in both outdoor environments and indoor environments where most people spend the majority of their time. Ingestion includes both water and food, as well as soil and dust uptake due to hand-to-mouth activity. Dermal uptake occurs through contacts with consumer products; indoor and outdoor surfaces; the water supply during washing or bathing; ambient surface waters during swimming or boating; soil during activities such as work, gardening, and play; and, to a lesser extent, from the air that surrounds us. An exposure pathway is the course that a pollutant takes from an ambient environmental medium (air, soil, water, biota, etc), to an exposure medium (indoor air, food, tap water, etc.) and to an exposed individual. Exposure scenarios are used to define plausible pathways for human contact. Recognition of the multiple pathways possible for exposure highlights the importance of a multimedia, multipathway exposure framework.

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Industrial Ecology; Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 1; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 2007

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  • Report No.: LBNL--60369
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231;EPA:DW-89-93058201-1
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923276
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc893785

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  • June 1, 2006

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2016, 8:54 p.m.

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McKone, Thomas E. & Small, Mitchell J. Integrated Environmental Assessment Part III: ExposureAssessment, article, June 1, 2006; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc893785/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.