• Article

The Environmental Protection Agency's research program on total human exposure

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA) research program on total human exposure to environmental pollution seeks to develop a newly emerging concept in the environmental sciences. Instead of focusing purely on the sources of pollution or their transport and movement through the environment, this research focuses on human beings as the receptors of these pollutants. People and daily activities become the center of attention. The methodology measures and models the pollutant concentrations found at the physical boundaries of people, regardless of whether the pollutants arrive through the air, water, food, or skin. It seeks to characterize quantitatively the impact of pollution on people by determining if an environmental problem exists at the human interface and, if so, by determining the sources, nature, extent, and severity of this environmental problem. By exploiting an emerging new arsenal of miniaturized instruments and by developing statistically representative survey designs for sampling the population of cities, significant progress has been made in recent years in providing previously unavailable human exposure field data needed for making valid risk assessments. The U.S. EPA total human exposure research program includes: development of measurement methods and instruments, development of exposure models and statistical protocols, microenvironmental field studies, total human exposure studies, validation of human exposure models with empirical data, and dosage research investigations.


Ott, W., Wallace, L., Mage, D., Akland, G., Lewis, R., Sauls, H., ... Morehouse, K. (1986). The Environmental Protection Agency's research program on total human exposure. Environment International, 12(1-4), 475-494. DOI: 10.1016/0160-4120(86)90064-4