Inadvertent ingestion exposure (IIE) arises from contact between the mouth and contaminated hands and objects. It may be a significant route of occupational exposure for metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and infectious agents (Cherrie et al , 2006). We have developed a predictive model of IIE. The deterministic model structure was based on data collected in: (i) a literature review of the determinants of ingestion exposure; (ii) a database of published transfer efficiencies for dermal and oral transfer; (iii) laboratory experiments to determine the efficiency of transfer of materials between hands, glove, objects and the mouth in different scenarios; and (iv) real-time observations of workers to identify rates and determinants of hand-to-mouth behaviour. The model estimates exposure to the hands and the perioral area (the area around the mouth). It was validated against measurements of hand and perioral exposure taken from 65 exposure scenarios (exposure to metals, pesticides, and cytotoxic drugs) across 13 worksites. Using written descriptions of worksites and practices, three exposure assessors, blinded to the measurement data, generated model estimates that were compared to the measured data. The correlation coefficient between model estimates and measurements ranged from 0.69 - 0.81 for hands and from 0.74 - 0.84 for perioral. The model was relatively reliable between assessors with between-assessor correlation coefficients ranging from 0.75 - 0.98. The model was designed to be used to estimate exposure at the job group level and could be used to develop job exposure matrices. Because the model can be used with historical written descriptions of tasks it may also be used to create retrospective exposure estimates. Based on the validation that has been conducted, the model appears to be a promising new exposure assessment tool that could be used to estimate IIE exposure for epidemiology.
Cherrie JW, Semple S, Christopher Y, et al (2006). Ann Occup Hyg 50(7): 693–704.
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