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Risk Assessment

Guidelines for Exposure Assessment

The Guidelines for Exposure Assessment (hereafter "Guidelines") describe the general concepts of exposure assessment including definitions and associated units, and by providing guidance on the planning and conducting of an exposure assessment. Guidance is also provided on presenting the results of the exposure assessment and characterizing uncertainty. Although these Guidelines focus on exposures of humans to chemical substances, much of the guidance also pertains to assessing wildlife exposure to chemicals, or human exposures to biological, noise or radiological agents.

The Guidelines include a glossary which helps standardize terminology used by the Agency in exposure assessment. They emphasize that exposure assessments done as part of a risk assessment need to consider the hazard identification and dose-response parts of the risk assessment in the planning stages of the exposure assessment so that these three parts can be smoothly integrated into the risk characterization. The Guidelines discuss and reference a number of approaches and tools for exposure assessment, along with discussion of their appropriate use.

The Guidelines also stress that exposure estimates along with supporting information will be fully presented in Agency risk assessment documents, and that Agency scientists will identify the strengths and weaknesses of each assessment by describing uncertainties, assumptions and limitations, as well as the scientific basis and rationale for each assessment.

Document Details and Links

The Guidelines are intended for risk assessors in EPA, and those exposure and risk assessment consultants, contractors or other persons who perform work under Agency contract or sponsorship. In addition, publication of these Guidelines makes information on the principles, concepts and methods used by the Agency available to all interested members of the public.

These Guidelines supersede and replace both the Guidelines for Estimating Exposures published September 24, 1986 (51 FR 34042-34054) (hereafter "1986 Guidelines") and the Proposed Guidelines for Exposure-Related Measurements published for comment on December 2, 1988 (53 FR 48830-48853) (hereafter "1988 Proposed Guidelines"). In response to recommendations from the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and the public, the 1986 Guidelines were updated and combined with the 1988 Proposed Guidelines and retitled as the current Guidelines for Exposure Assessment.

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