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Variability and Uncertainty in Swedish Exposure Factors for Use in Quantitative Exposure Assessments


Address correspondence to Tomas Öberg, School of Natural Sciences, Linnaeus University, 39182 Kalmar, Sweden; tel: +46 480 446161; fax +46 480 447340;


Information of exposure factors used in quantitative risk assessments has previously been compiled and reported for U.S. and European populations. However, due to the advancement of science and knowledge, these reports are in continuous need of updating with new data. Equally important is the change over time of many exposure factors related to both physiological characteristics and human behavior. Body weight, skin surface, time use, and dietary habits are some of the most obvious examples covered here. A wealth of data is available from literature not primarily gathered for the purpose of risk assessment. Here we review a number of key exposure factors and compare these factors between northern Europe—here represented by Sweden—and the United States. Many previous compilations of exposure factor data focus on interindividual variability and variability between sexes and age groups, while uncertainty is mainly dealt with in a qualitative way. In this article variability is assessed along with uncertainty. As estimates of central tendency and interindividual variability, mean, standard deviation, skewness, kurtosis, and multiple percentiles were calculated, while uncertainty was characterized using 95% confidence intervals for these parameters. The presented statistics are appropriate for use in deterministic analyses using point estimates for each input parameter as well as in probabilistic assessments.