Special Issue "Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Domenico M. Cavallo
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Guest Editor
Department of Science and High Technology, University of Insubria, Como, Italy
Interests: environmental and occupational health and safety; occupational and environmental hygiene; risk assessment; risk management; human exposure assessment; chemical risk assessment; air pollution; occupational exposure to nanoparticles and nanomaterials; exposure modeling; indoor air quality; health impact assessment; chemical risk assessment and management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Andrea Spinazzè
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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienza e Alta Tecnologia, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Como 21100, Italy
Interests: exposure assessment; exposure sciences; airborne pollutants; occupational and environmental hygiene; chemical risk assessment and risk management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesca Borghi
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Science and High Technology, University of Insubria, Como, Italy
Interests: environmental and occupational health and safety; occupational and environmental hygiene; risk assessment; risk management; human exposure assessment; atmospheric aerosol; chemical risk assessment; air quality; air pollution; exposure modeling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The evaluation of occupational exposure to chemicals can be performed through instrumental measurements (environmental monitoring) or, alternatively, by means of modelling tools for estimating occupational exposure. Regarding this last issue, a certain number of tools, generally consisting of mathematical models, have been developed for the quantitative estimation of occupational exposure to chemical agents. Exposure assessment models are generally considered as useful tools for exposure assessors to deal with risk assessments in several exposure scenarios. However, available studies show that more knowledge is needed about model functionalities, applicability domain, refinement, validation, magnitude of uncertainties, and model reliability.

Therefore, this Special Issue aims to present original research articles, reviews, and short communications concerning the following:

  • Possible applications and performance evaluation (in terms of accuracy, precision, conservatism, inter-assessor/inter-rater reliability, etc.) of exposure modelling tools;
  • Case studies concerning exposure assessment in occupational settings by means of modelling tools for inhalation or dermal exposure to chemicals;
  • Design, development, and improvement of new exposure modelling tools or of new features of modelling tools conceived and specifically designed for occupational exposure to chemicals.

Prof. Dr. Domenico M. Cavallo
Dr. Andrea Spinazzè
Dr. Francesca Borghi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • exposure modeling
  • occupational exposure assessment
  • accuracy
  • robustness
  • validity
  • reliability
  • occupational exposure models
  • REACH

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication
The ECETOC-Targeted Risk Assessment Tool for Worker Exposure Estimation in REACH Registration Dossiers of Chemical Substances—Current Developments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8443; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228443 - 14 Nov 2020
Abstract
(1) Background: The ECETOC Targeted Risk Assessment (TRA) tool is widely used for estimation of worker exposure levels in the development of dossiers for REACH registration of manufactured or imported chemical substances in Europe. A number of studies have been published since 2010 [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The ECETOC Targeted Risk Assessment (TRA) tool is widely used for estimation of worker exposure levels in the development of dossiers for REACH registration of manufactured or imported chemical substances in Europe. A number of studies have been published since 2010 in which the exposure estimates of the tool are compared with workplace exposure measurement results and in some instances an underestimation of exposure was reported. The quality and results of these studies are being reviewed by ECETOC. (2) Methods: Original exposure measurement data from published comparison studies for which six or more data points were available for each workplace scenario and a TRA estimate had been developed to create a curated database to examine under what conditions and for which applications the tool is valid or may need adaptation. (3) Results: The published studies have been reviewed for completeness and clarity and TRA estimates have been constructed based on the available information, following a set of rules. The full review findings are expected to be available in the course of 2021. (4) Conclusions: The ECETOC TRA tool developers periodically review the validity and limitations of their tool, in line with international recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment)
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Stoffenmanager and a New Exposure Model for Estimating Occupational Exposure to Styrene in the Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics Lamination Process
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124486 - 22 Jun 2020
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate occupational exposure models by comparing model estimations of Stoffenmanager, version 8.2, and exposure scores calculated using a new exposure model with personal exposure measurements for styrene used in the fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) lamination processes in Korea. Using the [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate occupational exposure models by comparing model estimations of Stoffenmanager, version 8.2, and exposure scores calculated using a new exposure model with personal exposure measurements for styrene used in the fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) lamination processes in Korea. Using the collected exposure measurements (n = 160) with detailed contextual information about the type of process, working conditions, local exhaust ventilation, respiratory protections, and task descriptions, we developed a new model algorithm to estimate the score for occupational exposures on situation level. We assumed that the source of exposure originates from the near field only (within the breathing zone of workers). The new model is designed as a simple formula of multiplying scores for job classification, exposure potential, engineering controls, chemical hazard, and exposure probability and then dividing the score for workplace size. The final score is log-transformed, ranging from 1 to 14, and the exposure category is divided into four ratings: no exposure (1), low (2), medium (3), and high (4) exposures. Using the contextual information, all the parameters and modifying factors are similarly entered into the two models through direct translation and coding processes with expert judgement, and the exposure estimations and scores using the two models are calculated for each situation. Overall bias and precision for Stoffenmanager are −1.00 ± 2.07 (50th) and −0.32 ± 2.32 (90th) for all situations (n = 36), indicating that Stoffenmanager slightly underestimated styrene exposures. Pearson’s correlation coefficients are significantly high for Stoffenmanager (r = 0.87) and the new model (r = 0.88), and the correlation between the two models is significantly high (r = 0.93) (p < 0.01). Therefore, the model estimations using Stoffenmanager and the new model are significantly correlated with the styrene exposures in the FRP lamination process. Further studies are needed to validate and calibrate the models using a larger number of exposure measurements for various substances in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison between Communicated and Calculated Exposure Estimates Obtained through Three Modeling Tools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4175; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114175 - 11 Jun 2020
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate the risk assessment approach of the REACH legislation in industrial chemical departments with a focus on the use of three models to calculate exposures, and discuss those factors that can determine a bias between the estimated exposure (and [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate the risk assessment approach of the REACH legislation in industrial chemical departments with a focus on the use of three models to calculate exposures, and discuss those factors that can determine a bias between the estimated exposure (and therefore the expected risk) in the extended safety data sheets (e-SDS) and the expected exposure for the actual scenario. To purse this goal, the exposure estimates and risk characterization ratios (RCRs) of registered exposure scenarios (ES; “communicated exposure” and “communicated RCR”) were compared with the exposure estimates and the corresponding RCRs calculated for the actual, observed ES, using recommended tools for the evaluation of exposure assessment and in particular the following tools: (i) the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals Targeted Risk Assessment v.3.1 (ECETOC TRA), (ii) STOFFENMANAGER® v.8.0 and (iii) the Advanced REACH Tool (ART). We evaluated 49 scenarios in three companies handling chemicals. Risk characterization ratios (RCRs) were calculated by dividing estimated exposures by derived no-effect levels (DNELs). Although the calculated exposure and RCRs generally were lower than communicated, the correlation between communicated and calculated exposures and RCRs was generally poor, indicating that the generic registered scenarios do not reflect actual working, exposure and risk conditions. Further, some observed scenarios resulted in calculated exposure values and RCR higher than those communicated through chemicals’ e-SDSs; thus ‘false safe’ scenarios (calculated RCRs > 1) were also observed. Overall, the obtained evidences contribute to doubt about whether the risk assessment should be performed using generic (communicated by suppliers) ES with insufficient detail of the specific scenario at all companies. Contrariwise, evidences suggested that it would be safer for downstream users to perform scenario-specific evaluations, by means of proper scaling approach, to achieve more representative estimates of chemical risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment)
Open AccessCommunication
Exposure Models for REACH and Occupational Safety and Health Regulations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020383 - 07 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Model tools for estimating hazardous substance exposure are an accepted part of regulatory risk assessments in Europe, and models underpin control banding tools used to help manage chemicals in workplaces. Of necessity the models are simplified abstractions of real-life working situations that aim [...] Read more.
Model tools for estimating hazardous substance exposure are an accepted part of regulatory risk assessments in Europe, and models underpin control banding tools used to help manage chemicals in workplaces. Of necessity the models are simplified abstractions of real-life working situations that aim to capture the essence of the scenario to give estimates of actual exposures with an appropriate margin of safety. The basis for existing inhalation exposure assessment tools has recently been discussed by some scientists who have argued for the use of more complex models. In our opinion, the currently accepted tools are documented to be the most robust way for workplace health and safety practitioners and others to estimate inhalation exposure. However, we recognise that it is important to continue the scientific development of exposure modelling to further elaborate and improve the existing methodologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Validity of Tier 1 Modelling Tools and Impacts on Exposure Assessments within REACH Registrations—ETEAM Project, Validation Studies and Consequences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124589 - 26 Jun 2020
Abstract
In the last years, the evaluation and validation of exposure modelling tools for inhalation exposure assessment at workplaces received new and highly increased attention by different stakeholders. One important study in this regard is the ETEAM (Evaluation of Tier 1 [...] Read more.
In the last years, the evaluation and validation of exposure modelling tools for inhalation exposure assessment at workplaces received new and highly increased attention by different stakeholders. One important study in this regard is the ETEAM (Evaluation of Tier 1 Exposure Assessment Models) project that evaluated exposure assessment tools under the European REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), (but next to the ETEAM project—as a project publicly funded by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA)—it is a rather new development that research groups from universities in Europe, but also internationally, investigated this issue. These other studies focused not only on REACH tier 1 tools but also investigated other tools and aspects of tool validity. This paper tries to summarise the major findings of studies that explored the different issues of tool validity by focusing on the scientific outcomes and the exposure on the science community. On the other hand, this publication aims to provide guidance on the choice and use of tools, addressing the needs of tool users. The consequences of different stakeholders under REACH are discussed from the results of the validation studies. The major stakeholders are: (1) REACH registrants or applicants for REACH authorisations, meaning those companies, consortia or associations who are subject to REACH; (2) Evaluating authorities within the scope of REACH, meaning the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) secretariat and committees, but also the competent authorities of the member states or the European Union; (3) Developers of the different models and tools; (4) Users of the different models and tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment)
Open AccessReview
How to Obtain a Reliable Estimate of Occupational Exposure? Review and Discussion of Models’ Reliability
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2764; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152764 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Evaluation and validation studies of quantitative exposure models for occupational exposure assessment are still scarce and generally only consider a limited number of exposure scenarios. The aim of this review was to report the current state of knowledge of models’ reliability in terms [...] Read more.
Evaluation and validation studies of quantitative exposure models for occupational exposure assessment are still scarce and generally only consider a limited number of exposure scenarios. The aim of this review was to report the current state of knowledge of models’ reliability in terms of precision, accuracy, and robustness. A systematic review was performed through searches of major scientific databases (Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed), concerning reliability of Tier1 (“ECETOC TRA”-European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals Targeted Risk Assessment, MEASE, and EMKG-Expo-Tool) and Tier2 models (STOFFENMANAGER® and “ART”-Advanced Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Tool). Forty-five studies were identified, and we report the complete information concerning model performance in different exposure scenarios, as well as between-user reliability. Different studies describe the ECETOC TRA model as insufficient conservative to be a Tier1 model, in different exposure scenarios. Contrariwise, MEASE and EMKG-Expo-Tool seem to be conservative enough, even if these models have not been deeply evaluated. STOFFENMANAGER® resulted the most balanced and robust model. Finally, ART was generally found to be the most accurate and precise model, with a medium level of conservatism. Overall, the results showed that no complete evaluation of the models has been conducted, suggesting the need for correct and harmonized validation of these tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment)
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
AltrexChimie, a Web Application for the Management and the Interpretation of Occupational Exposure Measurements to Chemical Substances
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3375; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103375 - 12 May 2020
Abstract
In most occupational settings, several chemical agents are commonly found, and the associated exposure risk for workers must be assessed. For this purpose, air samples can be collected and analyzed. AltrexChimie is a web application that helps industrial hygienists in the organization of [...] Read more.
In most occupational settings, several chemical agents are commonly found, and the associated exposure risk for workers must be assessed. For this purpose, air samples can be collected and analyzed. AltrexChimie is a web application that helps industrial hygienists in the organization of the air sampling strategy and in the subsequent phases of data management, analysis, and communication. AltrexChimie contains a database of more than 550 chemical substances and their respective French Occupational Exposure Limit Values (OELV): Custom OELVs can also be defined by the user. AltrexChimie helps with the definition of key features of the sampling strategy, in particular by promoting a methodology for the design of Similar Exposure Groups (SEGs). Once measurement data are entered, they can be analyzed to obtain exposure diagnostics. Data management features allow for the easy storage and retrieval of measurements, and comprehensive dashboards help industrial hygienists (IHs) in the communication of results. Finally, with AltrexChimie it is also possible to assess exposure to multiple chemical substances and their additive effects. While most free software applications for the assessment of chemical exposure focus on the statistical computation of specific indicators, AltrexChimie offers several tools to assist IHs in the exposure assessment workflow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Tools for Occupational Exposure Assessment)
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