A model for probabilistic health impact assessment of exposure to food chemicals

H. van der Voet, G.W.A.M. van der Heijden, P.M.J. Bos, S. Bosgra, P.E. Boon, S.D. Muri, B.J. Brüschweiler

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    A statistical model is presented extending the integrated probabilistic risk assessment (IPRA) model of van der Voet and Slob [van der Voet, H., Slob, W., 2007. Integration of probabilistic exposure assessment and probabilistic hazard characterisation. Risk Analysis, 27, 351–371]. The aim is to characterise the health impact due to one or more chemicals present in food causing one or more health effects. For chemicals with hardly any measurable safety problems we propose health impact characterisation by margins of exposure. In this probabilistic model not one margin of exposure is calculated, but rather a distribution of individual margins of exposure (IMoE) which allows quantifying the health impact for small parts of the population. A simple bar chart is proposed to represent the IMoE distribution and a lower bound (IMoEL) quantifies uncertainties in this distribution. It is described how IMoE distributions can be combined for dose-additive compounds and for different health effects. Health impact assessment critically depends on a subjective valuation of the health impact of a given health effect, and possibilities to implement this health impact valuation step are discussed. Examples show the possibilities of health impact characterisation and of integrating IMoE distributions. The paper also includes new proposals for modelling variable and uncertain factors describing food processing effects and intraspecies variation in sensitivity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2926-2940
    JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • life-cycle assessment
    • risk-assessment
    • distributions
    • variability
    • thresholds
    • disability
    • toxicity

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    van der Voet, H., van der Heijden, G. W. A. M., Bos, P. M. J., Bosgra, S., Boon, P. E., Muri, S. D., & Brüschweiler, B. J. (2009). A model for probabilistic health impact assessment of exposure to food chemicals. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 47(12), 2926-2940. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2008.12.027