Occupational exposure modeling is widely used in the context of the E.U. regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals (REACH). First tier tools, such as European Centre for Ecotoxicology and TOxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) targeted risk assessment (TRA) or Stoffenmanager, are used to screen a wide range of substances. Those of concern are investigated further using second tier tools, e.g., Advanced REACH Tool (ART). Local sensitivity analysis (SA) methods are used here to determine dominant factors for three models commonly used within the REACH framework: ECETOC TRA v3, Stoffenmanager 4.5, and ART 1.5. Based on the results of the SA, the robustness of the models is assessed. For ECETOC, the process category (PROC) is the most important factor. A failure to identify the correct PROC has severe consequences for the exposure estimate. Stoffenmanager is the most balanced model and decision making uncertainties in one modifying factor are less severe in Stoffenmanager. ART requires a careful evaluation of the decisions in the source compartment since it constitutes ∼75% of the total exposure range, which corresponds to an exposure estimate of 20-22 orders of magnitude. Our results indicate that there is a trade off between accuracy and precision of the models. Previous studies suggested that ART may lead to more accurate results in well-documented exposure situations. However, the choice of the adequate model should ultimately be determined by the quality of the available exposure data: if the practitioner is uncertain concerning two or more decisions in the entry parameters, Stoffenmanager may be more robust than ART.
Keywords: Advanced REACH tool (ART); ECETOC; Stoffenmanager; occupational exposure models; sensitivity analysis.
© 2015 Society for Risk Analysis.