Standard Article

Exposure Assessment

Environmental Health

  1. Kathleen Ward Brown,
  2. Jonathan Levy

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vae057.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Brown, K. W. and Levy, J. 2013. Exposure Assessment . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 2.

Author Information

  1. Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Human exposure to an agent has been defined as an event consisting of contact with a specific concentration of the agent at a boundary between the human and the environment (e.g., lung or skin) for a specific amount of time. Exposure therefore refers to the intensity, frequency, and duration of contact with an agent, which is distinct from the actual amount of the agent absorbed or received by target organs (the dose). This generally entails identification of population(s) exposed as well as the sources of the agent, pathways for the agent to contact the target, exposure routes, and the uncertainties in the assessment. The goal of exposure assessment is often to determine the distribution of exposures to a specific agent across individuals, which provides both the population mean exposure (relevant for quantifying population risks) and the exposure levels for more highly exposed or susceptible individuals.


  • exposure pathways;
  • exposure estimate;
  • exposure models;
  • exposure factors;
  • human activity pattern;
  • risk assessment;
  • receptor model;
  • dispersion model