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An Overview of the Advantages and Limitations of Probabilistic Exposure and Risk Assessment Methods Used in Evaluating Health Impacts of Environmental Chemicals

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Abstract:Human exposures to environmental pollutants widely vary depending on the emission patterns that result in microenvironmental pollutant concentrations, as well as behavioral factors that determine the extent of an individual's contact with these pollutants. Each component of the source-concentration-exposure-dose-effects human health risk paradigm has inherent variability and uncertainty due to complexity of the underlying environmental and biological systems. Consequently, probabilistic human exposure and toxicity assessment methods are often used in human health risk assessments to quantify explicitly the contributions of variability and uncertainty in inputs to the risk assessment to the estimated range of possible health effects. This ISEA session on Probabilistic Exposure and Risk Assessment begins by first introducing the commonly used probabilistic human exposure and risk assessment methods in the field, followed by discussions of specific examples demonstrating applications of probabilistic uncertainty analysis tools typically used for environmental emissions, concentrations, personal exposures and toxicity characterizations. Current methods for derivation of non-cancer risk values will be reviewed and situations when probabilistic estimates of potency were found to be useful will be described in the session. Each presenter has been invited to provide their insights into the limitations of current methods and underlying information in order to reliably assess human exposures and risks to environmental toxicants. This presentation summarizes the principal conclusions of the session, in terms of strengths and limitations of current probabilistic techniques, and provides a synthesis of the recommended future research activities, which will be identified by the session presenters.

Although this work was reviewed by EPA and approved for publication, it may not necessarily reflect official Agency policy.
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Citation:Ozkaynak, A. H. An Overview of the Advantages and Limitations of Probabilistic Exposure and Risk Assessment Methods Used in Evaluating Health Impacts of Environmental Chemicals. Presented at 2004 14th Annual Conference of the International Society of Exposure Analysis (ISEA), Philadelphia, PA, October 17-21, 2004.
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Office of the Director
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Branch: Immediate Office
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 10/17/2004
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