• Article

Risk characterization framework for noncancer end points

The nature of both indoor air exposures and noncancer end points present significant issues for risk characterization. Noncancer end points are multidimensional, affecting various organs, and are assumed to have thresholds. Symptoms also vary in severity within a population. In addition to the complexity of noncancer risk assessment, indoor air exposures are typified by the presence of complex mixtures, which further complicates the complex nature of noncancer risk characterization. Most noncancer risk assessment efforts have focused on defining acceptable daily intakes or reference doses (RfD) rather than estimating incidence and severity of the wide range of effects within an exposed population. The risk characterization framework has been developed to accommodate the RfD approach but, more importantly, to address the multidimensional nature of noncancer risk characterization. Newly emerging methods and standard EPA risk assessment guidelines for noncancer effects and complex mixtures were used as guides for developing the framework. Information and data needs have been identified from the framework. Peak, average, and cumulative doses from indoor air exposures are highly dependent on variable indoor air concentrations and affected by time-activity patterns. Susceptibility also plays a significant role in noncancer end points and, unlike susceptibility in cancer risk assessment, is quantifiable. This paper highlights the risk characterization framework for noncancer health risks that we developed in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office. Additionally, a preliminary application of the framework to a complex mixture of volatile organic compounds from indoor sources is illustrated


Pierson, T., Hetes, R., & Naugle, D. (1991). Risk characterization framework for noncancer end points. Environmental Health Perspectives, 95, 121-129.