Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Exposure Intimacy: A New Metric for Assessing Chemical Intake

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Exposure Intimacy: A New Metric for Assessing Chemical Intake

Article excerpt

A new way to efficiently estimate human intake of a chemical based on its production and how it is used demonstrates that people's "exposure intimacy" with widely used chemicals varies dramatically [EHP 120(12):1678-1683; Nazaroff et al.]. For example, the plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the world's most heavily used chemicals, but its U.S. intake-to-production ratio (IPR) is over 100,000 times less than that of methyl paraben, a food preservative and antifungal agent. IPR estimates for human exposure to five commonly used phthalate plasticizers, the disinfectant p-dichlorobenzene, and the antibacterial agent triclosan fall in between these two extremes.

The IPR, reported as ppm, quantifies the fraction of the total amount of a chemical used in a country each year that gets into the country's population. The metric is calculated by dividing the population's estimated total intake of a chemical by the rate at which that chemical is produced or imported. So, for example, diethyl phthalate's rating of 7,700 ppm indicates that for every 1 million g of the chemical entering U.S. commerce, approximately 7,700 g is taken up by the aggregate population. The metric does not reflect the distribution of exposures within the population.

For this study, intake estimates for the nine chemicals assessed were based on urinary excretion data from the U. …

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