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Ambio. 2007 Sep;36(6):458-66.

Model selection and evaluation for risk assessment of dioxin-contaminated sites.

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Department of Chemistry, UmeƄ University, Sweden.


The general European population has a total intake of dioxins and dioxin-like chemicals near the limit recommended by the European Union, making additional exposure above background levels undesirable. For populations living near dioxin-contaminated sites, additional exposure may occur by intake of locally produced food, inhalation of particles, dermal contact with soils, or other exposure pathways. Risk assessment tools are required to estimate risks associated with contaminated sites and to set priorities for site remediation. Here, we review several multimedia models that can be applied as tools to support risk assessment. We then present a strategy to select, apply, evaluate, and adapt a model to address a specific situation. The case study we consider is a risk assessment of generic background dioxin exposure in Sweden, and we compare the predictions with environmental observations and exposure data from Sweden. Arguments are presented for selecting the CalTOX model for this case study. We demonstrate the application, evaluation, and adaptation of the model and discuss the requirements for extending the analysis to conduct risk assessment for subpopulations living near dioxin-contaminated sites.

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