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From a theoretical framework of human exposure and dose assessment to computational system implementation: the Modeling ENvironment for TOtal Risk Studies (MENTOR).

Abstract

Georgopoulos and Lioy (1994) presented a theoretical framework for exposure analysis, incorporating multiple levels of empirical and mechanistic information while characterizing/reducing uncertainties. The present review summarizes efforts towards implementing that framework, through the development of a mechanistic source-to-dose Modeling ENvironment for TOtal Risks studies (MENTOR), a computational toolbox that provides various modeling and data analysis tools to facilitate assessment of cumulative and aggregate (multipathway) exposures to contaminant mixtures. MENTOR adopts a "Person Oriented Modeling" (POM) approach that can be applied to either specific individuals or to populations/subpopulations of interest; the latter is accomplished by defining samples of "virtual" individuals that statistically reproduce the physiological, demographic, etc., attributes of the populations studied. MENTOR implementations currently incorporate and expand USEPA's SHEDS (Stochastic Human Exposure and Dose Simulation) approach and consider multiple exposure routes (inhalation, food, drinking water intake; non-dietary ingestion; dermal absorption). Typically, simulations involve: (1) characterizing background levels of contaminants by combining model predictions and measurement studies; (2) characterizing multimedia levels and temporal profiles of contaminants in various residential and occupational microenvironments; (3) selecting sample populations that statistically reproduce essential demographics (age, gender, race, occupation, education) of relevant population units (e.g., census tracts); (4) developing activity event sequences for each member of the sample by matching attributes to entries of USEPA's Consolidated Human Activity Database (CHAD); (5) calculating intake rates for the sample population members, reflecting physiological attributes and activities pursued; (6) combining intake rates from multiple routes to assess exposures; (7) estimating target tissue doses with physiologically based dosimetry/toxicokinetic modeling.

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