Occupational exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and health risk assessment.Environ Health Perspect. 1999 Dec; 107 Suppl 6:829-35.EH
This article addresses concepts of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure assessment relevant for health risk assessment based on human studies. We present issues that should be considered when selecting a method for ETS exposure assessment for the purposes of health risk assessment and review data on ETS exposure levels in the workplace and in home environments. Two types of estimates are needed for a quantitative risk assessment of the health effects resulting from occupational ETS exposure: (italic)a(/italic)) an unbiased estimate of the exposure-effect (or dose-response) relation between ETS and the health effect of interest, and (italic)b(/italic)) estimates of the distribution of ETS exposure in different workplaces. By combining the estimated exposure-effect relation with information on exposure distribution for a population of interest, we can calculate the proportions of disease cases attributable to occupational ETS exposure as well as the excess number of cases due to specified exposure conditions. Several dimensions of the exposure profile should be considered when assessing ETS exposure for estimating the exposure-effect relation, including the magnitude of exposure and the biologically relevant time specificity of exposure. The magnitude of exposure is determined by the ETS source strength, environmental factors modifying concentrations, and duration of exposure. Time specificity considerations include the latency period for each health outcome of interest, the time-exposure profile relevant for different disease mechanisms, and the sensitive age period with regard to health effects. The most appropriate indicator of ETS exposure depends on these factors and on the time period that can be assessed with different methods.