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

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Inhalation

Scenarios

Inhalation exposure can be relevant for ambient air, indoor air, or both depending on the source and nature of the pollutant. Inhalation exposure can be estimated by first defining the exposure scenario of interest. Exposure scenarios typically include information on the sources and pathways of exposure, contaminants of concern, and receptor populations. They might also describe a receptor population’s activities that may affect exposure and the timeframe over which exposure occurs. Inhalation exposure could occur over short durations (e.g., more than 24 hours, up to 30 days) or longer timeframes (e.g., more than 30 days), and can be associated with various types of activities (e.g., occupational, recreational, residential) in different indoor or outdoor environments.

The table below provides some examples of inhalation scenarios. The list of examples is not meant to be exhaustive; there are numerous other inhalation scenarios that may be constructed based on the specific needs of the assessment. There are also numerous variations of the examples provided in the table.

Examples of Inhalation Exposure Scenarios and Related
Exposure Factor Handbook: 2011 Edition Tables
Medium Receptor Population Activity/Timeframe Inhalation Rate Exposure Period
Ambient air General population; adults Routine activity; long-term; adjusted air concentration Not applicable Chronic
Ambient air; contaminated site School children Playing during time spent in elementary school; dose calculation
[Table 16-17]
Short-tem, activity-specific
[Table 6-2]
Sub-chronic
Ambient air; source-related contaminant Highly-exposed local population; adults and children Routine; long-term-dose calculation Daily
[Table 6-1]
Chronic or sub-chronic, depending on lifestage
Outdoor air; particulates from contaminated site Occupational; adults Site-specific construction; short-term; adjusted air concentration Not applicable Acute
Indoor air Infants or home-bound elderly adults Routine; less than lifetime; adjusted air concentration Not applicable Sub-chronic
Indoor air Occupational Working in contaminated office building; long-term occupational; adjusted air concentration
[Table 16-8]
Not applicable Chronic
Indoor air; consumer product use Consumers Cleaning with same consumer product over long timeframe
[Chapter 17]
Short-term, activity-specific
[Table 6-2]
Chronic
Indoor air; vapor intrusion from under-foundation source Residential adults and children Routine over lifetime; adjusted air concentration Not applicable Chronic
Indoor air; volatilization from water while showering Residential adults and children Showering daily
[Table 16-1]
Short-term, activity-specific
[Table 6-2]
Chronic or sub-chronic, depending on lifestage
Outdoor or indoor air; volatilization from swimming pool water Recreators Swimming over less than lifetime
[Table 16-1]
Short-term, activity-specific
[Table 6-2]
Sub-chronic
Indoor air; contamination in vehicle Commuters; adults Traveling in vehicle to and from work; less than lifetime
[Table 16-24]
Short-term, activity-specific
[Table 6-2]
Sub-chronic

Several resources are available that illustrate inhalation exposure scenarios.

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