Peak Inhalation Exposure Metrics Used in Occupational Epidemiologic and Exposure Studies
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Peak Inhalation Exposure Metrics Used in Occupational Epidemiologic and Exposure Studies

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    • Alternative Title:
      Front Public Health
    • Description:
      Peak exposures are of concern because they can potentially overwhelm normal defense mechanisms and induce adverse health effects. Metrics of peak exposure have been used in epidemiologic and exposure studies, but consensus is lacking on its definition. The relevant characteristics of peak exposure are dependent upon exposure patterns, biokinetics of exposure, and disease mechanisms. The objective of this review was to summarize the use of peak metrics in epidemiologic and exposure studies. A comprehensive search of Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and NIOSHTIC-2 databases was conducted using keywords related to peak exposures. The retrieved references were reviewed and selected for indexing if they included a peak metric and met additional criteria. Information on health outcomes and peak exposure metrics was extracted from each reference. A total of 1,215 epidemiologic or exposure references were identified, of which 182 were indexed and summarized. For the 72 epidemiologic studies, the health outcomes most frequently evaluated were: chronic respiratory effects, cancer and acute respiratory symptoms. Exposures were frequently assessed using task-based and full-shift time-integrated methods, qualitative methods, and real-time instruments. Peak exposure summary metrics included the presence or absence of a peak event, highest exposure intensity and frequency greater than a target. Peak metrics in the 110 exposure studies most frequently included highest exposure intensity, average short-duration intensity, and graphical presentation of the real-time data (plots). This review provides a framework for considering biologically relevant peak exposure metrics for epidemiologic and exposure studies to help inform risk assessment and exposure mitigation.
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