Polluted soils have become a public health problem. While population exposure to soil pollutants is generally quantified using multimedia models, their estimations have not been validated, and studies that attempted to do so are scarce. The objective of the SOLEX study was to compare the predictions of pyrene exposure levels (converted into 1 hydroxypyrene) computed by several models with the results of urinary 1-hydropyrene (1-HOP) assays among 110 employees working at three sites polluted during their past use as manufactured gas plants. Four models were used: AERIS (Canada), CalTOX (California, USA), CLEA (UK), and HESP (The Netherlands). Three occupational exposure scenarios--with office, mixed, and outdoor workers--were constructed, based upon job activities during two measurement campaigns, one in winter and one in summer. The exposure levels estimated by the four models could differ markedly (from 7 up to 80 times) according to the exposure scenario. Also, the predominant exposure routes differed according to the model (direct soil ingestion for HESP and CalTOX, inhalation for AERIS, and dermal absorption for CLEA). The predictions of CalTOX are consistent with the 1-HOP measurements for all the scenarios. For HESP, the consistency is observed for the scenarios, office and mixed, for which the pyrene level in the soil is low. AERIS and CLEA yield results that are systematically above the 1-HOP measurements. This study confirms that validation of the models is crucial and points out to the need to proceed to assess components of the models that are the most influential using appropriate statistical analysis in combination with true field data.
Auteur : Dor F, Empereur Bissonnet P, Zmirou D, Nedellec V, Haguenoer JM, Jongeneelen F, Person A, Dab W, Ferguson C
Risk analysis, 2003, vol. 23, n°. 5, p. 1047-57