Conceptual model for assessment of inhalation exposure: Defining modifying factors

Erik Tielemans*, Thomas Schneider, Henk Goede, Martin Tischer, Nick Warren, Hans Kromhout, Martie Van Tongeren, Joop Van Hemmen, John W. Cherrie

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    71 Citations (Scopus)


    The present paper proposes a source-receptor model to schematically describe inhalation exposure to help understand the complex processes leading to inhalation of hazardous substances. The model considers a stepwise transfer of a contaminant from the source to the receptor. The conceptual model is constructed using three components, i.e. (i) the source, (ii) various transmission compartments and (iii) the receptor, and describes the contaminant's emission and its pattern of transport. Based on this conceptual model, a list of nine mutually independent principal modifying factors (MFs) is proposed: activity emission potential, substance emission potential, localized control, separation, segregation, dilution, worker behavior, surface contamination and respiratory protection. These MFs describe the exposure process at a high level of abstraction so that the model can be generically applicable. A list of exposure determinants underlying each of these principal MFs is proposed to describe the exposure process at a more detailed level. The presented conceptual model is developed in conjunction with an activity taxonomy as described in a separate paper. The proposed conceptual model and MFs should be seen as 'building blocks' for development of higher tier exposure models.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)577-586
    Number of pages10
    JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


    • Conceptual model
    • Exposure determinants
    • Inhalation exposure
    • Modifying factors

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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