Receptor: Human health
An essential part of the risk assessment process is to estimate type and magnitude of exposures due to the release and/or migration of hazardous substances from a source (e.g., contaminated site). For the quantification of an exposure all potential human individuals need to be identified and characterized that could be affected by contact with contaminants. The description of these so called receptors takes place on basis of appropriate criteria that determine magnitude, frequency, duration, and roots of exposure, such as location relative to a contaminated site, activities and activity patterns, or presence of sensitive subpopulations.
Receptor: Any human individual or population that are presently or will potentially be exposed to, and adversely affected by, the release or migration of contaminants.
Exposure: Contact of a receptor with a substance. The quantification of exposure is expressed as amount of the substance available at the exchange boundaries of the receptor (e.g., skin, lung) and available for adsorption.
Exposure Routes: The way substances come in contact with the receptor, such as by ingestion, inhalation, or dermal contact.
Exposed human individuals or populations can be identified and characterized by following criteria:
The location (distance and direction) relative to a contaminated site determines the potential for an exposure. Populations that are living on or closest to the site will get contact with hazardous compounds more likely than those staying far away.
b.) Activities and activity patterns
Activities and activity patterns depend on the land use of the site. Frequently occurring land use categories are:
Each land use is associated with specific human activities and activity patterns:
c.) Sensitive subpopulations
In specific subpopulations exposure to hazardous substances may lead to an increased risk. Subpopulations of potential concern are:
Information sources that provide data for the characterization of potentially exposed populations include:
Exposure Factors Sourcebook for European Populations (with
European Commission (1996):
Technical Guidance Documents in Support of the Commission
Directive 93/67/EEC on Risk Assessment for New Substances and the Commission
Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 on Risk Assessment for Existing
Guidelines for Exposure Assessment. Office of
Research and Development.
Factors Handbook (EFH). Office of Research and Development.
Used for Identifying Potentially Highly Exposed Populations (HEP). Office of
Research and Development.
Science Policy Council Handbook. Risk Characterization.