The TEAM (Total Exposure Assessment Methodology) Study: personal exposures to toxic substances in air, drinking water, and breath of 400 residents of New Jersey, North Carolina, and North Dakota

Environ Res. 1987 Aug;43(2):290-307. doi: 10.1016/s0013-9351(87)80030-0.


EPA's TEAM Study has measured exposures to 20 volatile organic compounds in personal air, outdoor air, drinking water, and breath of approximately 400 residents of New Jersey, North Carolina, and North Dakota. All residents were selected by a probability sampling scheme to represent 128,000 inhabitants of Elizabeth and Bayonne, New Jersey, 131,000 residents of Greensboro, North Carolina, and 7000 residents of Devils Lake, North Dakota. Participants carried a personal monitor to collect two 12-hr air samples and gave a breath sample at the end of the day. Two consecutive 12-hr outdoor air samples were also collected on identical Tenax cartridges in the backyards of some of the participants. About 5000 samples were collected, of which 1500 were quality control samples. Ten compounds were often present in personal air and breath samples at all locations. Personal exposures were consistently higher than outdoor concentrations for these chemicals and were sometimes 10 times the outdoor concentrations. Indoor sources appeared to be responsible for much of the difference. Breath concentrations also often exceeded outdoor concentrations and correlated more strongly with personal exposures than with outdoor concentrations. Some activities (smoking, visiting dry cleaners or service stations) and occupations (chemical, paint, and plastics plants) were associated with significantly elevated exposures and breath levels for certain toxic chemicals. Homes with smokers had significantly increased benzene and styrene levels in indoor air. Residence near major point sources did not affect exposure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Humans
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Probability
  • Respiration*
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Urban Population
  • Water Pollutants / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Water Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical