Addressing locally grown foods in cumulative exposure assessments

Publication Type

Journal Article



Both laboratory and field studies confirm the importance of vegetation for scavenging semi-volatile organic chemicals (SVOCs) from the atmosphere and a number of exposure studies have found that the dietary pathway is often a significant contributor to cumulative exposure for these chemicals. Exposure calculations based on published concentration data for foods indicate that the potential intake through ingestion is up to 1000 times that of inhalation for several persistent SVOCs. However, little information exists on the source-to-dietary intake linkage for SVOC's. Because of higher SVOC emissions to urban regions, this linkage is particularly important for foods that are grown, distributed and consumed in or near urban regions. The food pathway can also contribute to dietary exposure for populations that are remote from a pollutant source if the pollutants can migrate to agricultural regions and subsequently to the agricultural commodities distributed to that population. We use the characteristic travel distance (CTD) and available data within the CalTOX multimedia model framework to assess the contribution of local food markets to the fraction of cumulative food intake that is attributable to local sources. For a set of three representative multimedia SVOCs- benzo(a)pyrene, fluoranthene, and 2,3,7,8-TCDD, we explore the contribution of airborne SVOC's to cumulative uptake through the local food consumption pathway. We use the population based intake fraction (iF) to determine how SVOC intake varies among food commodities and compares to inhalation. The approach presented here provides a useful framework and starting point for source-to-intake assessments for the air-to-dietary exposure pathway.


Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology



Year of Publication



Research Areas