Multimedia fate and human intake modeling: Spatial versus nonspatial insights for chemical emissions in Western Europe

Multimedia fate and multipathway human,exposure models are widely adopted in assessments of toxicological risks of chemical emissions at the regional scale. This paper addresses the question of how much spatial detail is necessary in such models when estimating the intake by the entire population in large, heterogeneous regions such as Europe. The paper presents a spatially resolved multimedia fate and multipathway exposure model for Western Europe, available as IMPACT 2002. This Model accounts for relationships between the location of food production and drinking water extraction as well as wake population cohorts live relative to where chemical emissions occur. The model facilitates estimation of environmental concentration distributions, related levels of contaminants in foods, and the fraction of a chemical release that will be taken in by the entire human population (the intake fraction) at the regional scale. To evaluate the necessary spatial resolution, the paper compares estimates of environmental concentrations and the intake fraction from,the spatially resolved model with the results of a consistent clone without spatial resolution. An evaluation for disperse emissions of PeCDF (2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzofuran, CAS# 51207-31-4) suggests reasonable agreement with monitoring data for most impact pathways with both versions of the model, but that the generic vegetation models for estimating contaminant concentrations in agricultural produce require improvement. A broader comparison for a range of organic chemicals demonstrates that the nonspatial models are likely to be appropriate in general for assessing dispersed sources of emissions. However, it is necessary to include generic compartments in such nonspatial models to account separately for emissions that enter lakes with long residence times versus rivers that feed directly into seas. For assessing an emission source in a specific location, using models that are not Spatially resolved can result in underestimation, or overestimation, of the population's intake by at least 3 orders of magnitude for some chemicals.

Published in:
Environmental Science & Technology, 39, 1119-1128

 Record created 2011-09-05, last modified 2018-03-17

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