Review and analysis of inhalation dosimetry methods for application to children's risk assessment

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2005 Apr 23;68(8):573-615. doi: 10.1080/15287390590921793.


Young children have a greater ventilation rate per body weight or pulmonary surface area as compared to adults. The implications of this difference for inhalation dosimetry and children's risk assessment were evaluated in runs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) 1994 reference concentration (RfC) methodology and the ICRP 1994 inhalation dosimetry model. Dosimetry estimates were made for 3-mo-old children and adults for particles and Category 1 and 2 reactive gases in the following respiratory-tract regions: extrathoracic (ET), tracheobronchial (BB), bronchioles (bb), and pulmonary (PU). Systemic dosimetry estimates were made for nonreactive (Category 3) gases. Results suggest similar ET dosimetry for children and adults for all types of inhaled materials. BB dosimetry was also similar across age groups except that the dosimetry of ultrafine particles in this region was twofold greater in 3-mo-old children than in adults. In contrast, the bb region generally showed higher dosimetry of particles and gases in adults than in children. Particle dose in the PU region was two- to fourfold higher in 3-mo-old children, with the greatest child/adult difference occurring for submicron size particles. Particulate dosimetry estimates with the default RfC methodology were below those found with the ICRP model for both adults and children for submicrometer sized particles. There were no cases in which reactive gas dosimetry was substantially greater in the respiratory regions of 3-mo-old children. Estimates of systemic dose of Category 3 gases were greater in 3-mo-old children than in adults, especially for liver dose of metabolite for rapidly metabolized gases. These analyses support the approach of assuming twofold greater inhalation dose in children than adults, although there are cases in which this differential can be greater and others where it can be less.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Environmental Pollutants* / administration & dosage
  • Environmental Pollutants* / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Particle Size
  • Respiratory System* / growth & development
  • Respiratory System* / metabolism


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Gases