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EPA-Expo-Box (A Toolbox for Exposure Assessors)

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Inorganics and Fibers

Exposed Populations

The general population might be exposed to inorganic contaminants through ingestion of contaminated food or water, incidental ingestion of soil, inhalation of soil particulates, and/or dermal contact with dust. Specific populations might experience increased exposures to the inorganic contaminants due to lifestage, behavior, or occupation. These populations include developing fetuses, breast-feeding infants, children, and certain occupational workers. Specific examples are provided below related to methylmercury (MeHg) and lead.

  • Breast-fed infants may be exposed to MeHg if their mothers have been exposed.
  • Toddlers and young children may be susceptible to lead dust exposure because of certain behaviors (e.g. tendency to mouth objects or hands) and activities (e.g., crawling or playing on the floor indoors where dust contaminated with lead has settled, playing on the lawn where the soil is contaminated with lead) that increase their chances of exposure.
  • Certain occupations may result in higher exposure levels of inorganic contaminants to workers. For example, construction workers or utility workers could be exposed to lead in soil through inhalation of dust.

See the Lifestages and Populations Tool Set of EPA-Expo-Box for resources related to particular population groups and lifestages including workers, children, and women of child-bearing age.

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