Advanced REACH Tool: A Bayesian Model for Occupational Exposure Assessment

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Abstract

This paper describes a Bayesian model for the assessment of inhalation exposures in an occupational setting; the methodology underpins a freely available web-based application for exposure assessment, the Advanced REACH Tool (ART). The ART is a higher tier exposure tool that combines disparate sources of information within a Bayesian statistical framework. The information is obtained from expert knowledge expressed in a calibrated mechanistic model of exposure assessment, data on inter- and intra-individual variability in exposures from the literature, and context-specific exposure measurements. The ART provides central estimates and credible intervals for different percentiles of the exposure distribution, for full-shift and long-term average exposures. The ART can produce exposure estimates in the absence of measurements, but the precision of the estimates improves as more data become available. The methodology presented in this paper is able to utilize partially analogous data, a novel approach designed to make efficient use of a sparsely populated measurement database although some additional research is still required before practical implementation. The methodology is demonstrated using two worked examples: an exposure to copper pyrithione in the spraying of antifouling paints and an exposure to ethyl acetate in shoe repair.

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