A flexible matrix-based human exposure assessment framework suitable for LCA and CAA

Olivier Jolliet, Alexi Ernstoff, Lei Huang, Susan A. Csiszar, Peter Fantke

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    79 Downloads (Pure)


    Humans can be exposed to chemicals via near-field exposure pathways (e.g. through consumer product use) and far-field exposure pathways (e.g. through environmental emissions along product life cycles). Pathways are often complex where chemicals can transfer directly from products to humans during use or exchange between near-and far-field compartments until sub -fractions reach humans via inhalation, ingestion or dermal uptake. Currently, however, multimedia exposure models mainly focus on far-field exposure pathways. Metrics and modeling approaches used in far-field, emission-based models are not applicable to all types of near-field chemical releases from consumer products, e.g. direct dermal application. A consistent near-and far-field framework is needed for life cycle assessment (LCA) and chemical alternative assessment (CAA) to inform mitigation of human exposure to harmful chemicals. To close the current research gaps, we (i) define a near-and far-field matrix-based exposure pathways framework that builds on a quantitative metric based on chemical mass in products, (ii) rovide input data for the framework, e.g. chemical concentrations in products linked to functional use categories, and (iii) propose a consistent set of underlying models to populate the matrix-based framework for all relevant multime dia transfers and exposure pathways. Output is a flexible mass balance-based model structuring multimedia transfers in a matrix of first-order inter-compartmental transfer fractions. Inverting this matrix yields cumulative multimedia transfer fractions and exposure pathway-specific Product Intake Fractions defined as chemical mass taken in by humans per unit mass of chemical in a product. When the chemical mass in products is unavailable from individual studies and databases, it can be estimated from chemical-product function relationships or regulatory frame formulations. Combining Product Intake Fractions with chemical masses in products yields exposure estimates per unit mass compatible with LCA and CAA. We demonstrate how this matrix-based modeling system offers a consistent and efficient way to compare exposure pathways for different user groups (e.g. children and adults) and the general population exposed via the environment associated with product use. Our framework constitutes a user-friendly approach to test and interpret multiple human exposure scenarios in a coupled system of near-and far-field pathways and helps to understand the contribution of individual pathways to overall human exposure in various product application contexts. When combined with toxicity information this approach is a resourceful way to inform LCA and CAA and minimize human exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products through both product use and environmental emissions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Society of Exposure Science 26th Annual Meeting - ISES2016
    Publication date2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventInternational Society of Exposure Science 26th Annual Meeting - ISES2016 - Utrecht, Netherlands
    Duration: 9 Oct 201613 Oct 2016


    ConferenceInternational Society of Exposure Science 26th Annual Meeting - ISES2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'A flexible matrix-based human exposure assessment framework suitable for LCA and CAA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this