Exposure Factors Handbook (1997, Final Report)

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The "Exposure Factors Handbook" (EFH or "Handbook") provides a summary of the available statistical data on various factors used in assessing human exposure. This report is addressed to exposure assessors inside the Agency as well as outside, who need to obtain data on standard factors to calculate human exposure to toxic chemicals. These factors include: drinking water consumption, soil ingestion, inhalation rates, dermal factors including skin area and soil adherence factors, consumption of fruits and vegetables, fish, meats, dairy products, homegrown foods, breast milk intake, human activity factors, consumer product use, and residential characteristics. Recommended values are for the general population and also for various segments of the population who may have characteristics different from the general population. EPA has strived to include full discussions of the issues that assessors should consider in deciding how to use these data and recommendations.

The EPA Office of Research and Development's National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) has prepared this handbook to address factors commonly used in exposure assessments. This handbook was first published in 1989 in response to requests from many EPA Program and Regional Offices for additional guidance on how to select values for exposure assessments.

This document provides a summary of the available data on consumption of drinking water; consumption of fruits, vegetables, beef, dairy products, and fish; soil ingestion; inhalation rates; skin surface area; soil adherence; lifetime; activity patterns; body weight; consumer product use; and the reference residence.


This was the final version of the Handbook report in 1997.

However, in 2011, the handbook was re-released to incorporate new data available since the 1997 edition.


U.S. EPA. Exposure Factors Handbook (1997, Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/P-95/002F a-c, 1997.


May 1989EPA released the Exposure Factors Handbook (Final Report) 1989. EPA/600/8-89/043.
Aug 1996EPA released a draft Exposure Factors Handbook for public review and comment.
Aug 1997EPA released the final report.

Additional Information

NCEA also produced a CD-ROM that contains an interactive version of the Exposure Factors Handbook. The CD-ROM has word search capabilities, downloadable tables, hypertext links to various chapters in the document, and key references. A limited number of paper copies and CD-ROM version of the Handbook are available from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) in Cincinnati, Ohio (phone 1-800-490-9198; 513-489-8190; fax 513-489-8695). Please provide the title and EPA number when ordering from NSCEP. Paper copies may be purchased from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) in Springfield, VA (phone 1-800-553-NTIS[6847] or 703-605-6000; fax 703-321-8547). Please provide the following numbers when ordering from NTIS:
  • Vol. I PB98-124225
  • Vol. II PB98-124233
  • Vol. III PB98-124241
  • The Set PB98-124217
In an effort to keep the Handbook up-to-date, EPA will incorporate new data as they become available in the published literature. Please submit comments, recommendations, suggested revisions, and corrections to Jacqueline Moya.

This document has been reviewed in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency policy and approved for publication. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.