The Factor Finder CD-ROM is a user-friendly, searchable tool used to locate exposure factors and sociodemographic data for user-defined populations. Factor Finder improves the exposure assessors and risk assessors (etc.) ability to efficiently locate exposure-related information for a population of concern. Users can either enter keywords into a user-defined search box or use pull-down menus to help pinpoint specific information. The pull-down menu features general categories such as chemicals of concern, contaminated media, geographic region, exposure pathways and routes, age, food categories, and activities to name just a few. Numerous subcategories are available for selection from the pull down menu as well. Factor Finder searches both documents to retrieve the specified data and displays the information on the user's personal computer (PC) screen.
Factor Finder is used by exposure assessors, risk assessors, and other concerned communities to locate exposure-related data contained within the Exposure Factors Handbook (EFH) and Sociodemographic Data Used in Identifying Potentially Highly Exposed Populations (HEP). The EFH and the HEP are companion guidance documents produced by the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) within EPA's Office of Research and Development. The Exposure Factors Handbook (EFH) summarizes data on exposure factors (values that describe human behaviors and characteristics that affect exposure to environmental contaminants) and offers guidance on their selection. The Sociodemographic Data Used for Identifying Potentially Highly Exposed Populations (HEP) document provides guidance to help risk assessors and managers identify and enumerate populations that may experience greater contaminant exposures relative to the general population. Nationally averaged exposure factors are well-suited for determining exposure estimates for general populations. However, applying nationally averaged exposure factors to unique populations can sometimes underestimate potential exposure risks. Thus, the HEP document can be consulted first to determine whether the given population of concern contains a highly exposed population and to learn characteristics of that population which may affect their exposure to environmental contaminants. Equipped with this information, the assessor can then select exposure factors from the EFH that are more representative of the given population of concern, thereby improving the exposure risk estimate. The HEP document can then be referenced again to help assessors and risk managers determine the number of people who potentially fall into highly exposed categories. The Factor Finder CD-ROM helps facilitate the process of referencing both documents. The Factor Finder CD-ROM User's Guide also is included on the CD-ROM. Adobe Acrobat Reader and Java are required to operate the CD-ROM, and both are available for downloading during the easy Factor Finder installation process.