EASE (Estimation and Assessment of Substance Exposure) is a general model that may be used to predict workplace exposure to a wide range of substances hazardous to health. First developed in the early 1990s, it is now in its second Windows version. This paper provides a critical assessment of the utility and performance of the EASE model, and on the basis of this review, recommendations for the structure of a revised model are outlined. Twenty-seven stakeholders were interviewed about their previous use of EASE, perceived advantages and limitations of the model and suggestions for improvement. A subset of stakeholders was contacted on a second occasion to determine their views on the preferred outputs for an ideal exposure assessment model. Overall, stakeholders felt that the model should be updated to provide more accurate and precise exposure assessments. However, users also expressed the view that the simplicity and usability of the software model should not be compromised. Six studies investigating the validity of the inhalation exposure assessment section of EASE were identified. These showed that the model generally either predicted close to the measured exposures or overestimated exposure; though performance was highly variable. Two studies investigated the validity of the dermal exposure assessment and found that EASE produced considerable overestimates of actual dermal exposure (the amount of a substance that actually lands on the skin). A conceptual model of exposure was developed to investigate whether the structure of the EASE model is appropriate. Although EASE has a number of characteristics that describe exposure, it is a greatly simplified model and does not include all the important exposure determinants. More importantly, EASE can produce estimates of exposure that are ambiguous or incomplete. Our conceptual model may provide a rational basis for developing an improved version of EASE but further consultation is needed to decide the purpose and intended use of any successor to EASE.
- Exposure assessment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health Professions(all)