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Title: Completing the Link between Exposure Science and Toxicology for Improved Environmental Health Decision Making: The Aggregate Exposure Pathway Framework

Driven by major scientific advances in analytical methods, biomonitoring, and computational exposure assessment, and a newly articulated vision for a greater impact in public health, the field of exposure science is undergoing a rapid transition from a field of observation to a field of prediction. Deployment of an organizational and predictive framework for exposure science analogous to the computationally enabled “systems approaches” used in the biological sciences is a necessary step in this evolution. Here we propose the aggregate exposure pathway (AEP) concept as the natural and complementary companion in the exposure sciences to the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) concept in the toxicological sciences. The AEP framework offers an intuitive approach to successful organization of exposure science data within individual units of prediction common to the field, setting the stage for exposure forecasting. Looking farther ahead, we envision direct linkages between aggregate exposure pathway and adverse outcome pathways, completing the source to outcome continuum and setting the stage for more efficient integration of exposure science and toxicity testing information. Together these frameworks form and inform a decision making framework with the flexibility for risk-based, hazard-based or exposure-based decisions.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Environmental Science & Technology, 50(9):4579-4586
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States