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University of Washington

Superfund Research Program

Human Dosimetry for Assessment of Exposure to Volatile Compounds

Project Leader: Michael S. Morgan
Grant Number: P42ES004696
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

The objective of this project is to understand the extent to which humans absorb, metabolize, and eliminate volatile organic compounds to which they may be exposed as a result of environmental contamination. Of special interest is the range of normal variation in these processes, and the factors that influence this variation. To investigate the underlying physiology, one central feature of this project is the development and validation of a detailed mathematical model of absorption, metabolism, and elimination processes in humans. Previous work with this model has accurately described these processes for toluene. The researchers anticipate that the model will also be able to describe the behavior of other solvents with different biological and chemical properties. Significantly, this model relies on only a few readily measured individual characteristics (e.g., body fat composition, height, simple measurements of metabolic rate such as respiratory ventilation rate) to predict the individual's response. The results of this study will support relatively accurate health risk assessments and epidemiologic studies, without requiring complex or detailed input data.

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