Children's exposure assessment: A review of factors influencing children's exposure, and the data available to characterize and assess that exposure

Elaine A. Cohen Hubal, Linda S. Sheldon, Janet M. Burke, Thomas R. McCurdy, Maurice R. Berry, Marc L. Rigas, Valerie G. Zartarian, Natalie C.G. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

294 Scopus citations


We review the factors influencing children's exposure to environmental contaminants and the data available to characterize and assess that exposure. Children's activity pattern data requirements are demonstrated in the context of the algorithms used to estimate exposure by inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion. Currently, data on children's exposure and activities are insufficient to adequately assess multimedia exposures to environmental contaminants. As a result, regulators use a series of default assumptions and exposure factors when conducting exposure assessments. Data to reduce uncertainty in the assumptions and exposure estimates are needed to ensure chemicals are regulated appropriately to protect children's health. To improve the database, advancement in the following general areas of research is required: identification of appropriate age/developmental benchmarks for categorizing children in exposure assessment; development and improvement of methods for monitoring children's exposures and activities; collection of activity pattern data for children (especially young children) required to assess exposure by all routes; collection of data on concentrations of environmental contaminants, biomarkers, and transfer coefficients that can be used as inputs to aggregate exposure models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-486
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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