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1.  Korean research project on the integrated exposure assessment of hazardous substances for food safety 
This survey was designed to conduct the first nationwide dietary exposure assessment on hazardous substances including the intakes of functional food and herbal medicine. In this paper, we introduced the survey design and the results of the dietary exposure status and internal exposure levels of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg).
We selected 4867 subjects of all ages throughout Korea. We conducted a food survey, dietary survey, biomonitoring, and health survey.
Pb and Cd were the highest (median value) in the seaweed (94.2 μg/kg for Pb; 594 μg/kg for Cd), and Hg was the highest in the fish (46.4 μg/kg). The dietary exposure level (median value) of Pb was 0.14 μg/kg body weight (bw)/d, 0.18 μg/kg bw/d for Cd, and 0.07 μg/kg bw/d for Hg. Those with a blood Pb level of less than 5.00 μg/dL (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reference value for those 1 to 5 years of age) were 99.0% of all the subjects. Those with a blood Cd level with less than 0.30 μg/L (German Federal Environmental Agency, reference value for non-smoking children) were 24.5%. For those with a blood Hg level with less than 5.00 μg/L (human biomonitoring I, references value for children and adults, German Federal Environmental Agency) was 81.0 % of all the subjects.
The main dietary exposure of heavy metals occurs through food consumed in a large quantity and high frequency. The blood Hg level and dietary exposure level of Hg were both higher than those in the European Union.
PMCID: PMC4509523  PMID: 26184046
Food intake; Hazardous substances; Heavy metal; Integrated dietary exposure assessment; Survey design
2.  House-plant placement for indoor air purification and health benefits on asthmatics 
Some plants were placed in indoor locations frequented by asthmatics in order to evaluate the quality of indoor air and examine the health benefits to asthmatics.
The present study classified the participants into two groups: households of continuation and households of withdrawal by a quasi-experimental design. The households of continuation spent the two observation terms with indoor plants, whereas the households of withdrawal passed the former observation terms with indoor plants and went through the latter observation term without any indoor plants.
The household of continuation showed a continual decrease in the indoor concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the entire observation period, but the household of withdrawal performed an increase in the indoor concentrations of VOCs, except formaldehyde and toluene during the latter observation term after the decrease during the former observation term. Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) increased in the households of continuation with the value of 13.9 L/min in the morning and 20.6 L/ min in the evening, but decreased in the households of withdrawal with the value of -24.7 L/min in the morning and -30.2 L/min in the evening in the first experimental season. All of the households exhibited a decrease in the value of PEFR in the second experimental season.
Limitations to the generalizability of findings regarding the presence of plants indoors can be seen as a more general expression of such a benefit of human-environment relations.
PMCID: PMC4258716  PMID: 25384387
Asthma; Formaldehyde; Health; House-plant; Indoor air quality; Volatile organic compounds
3.  Ordinary kriging approach to predicting long-term particulate matter concentrations in seven major Korean cities 
Cohort studies of associations between air pollution and health have used exposure prediction approaches to estimate individual-level concentrations. A common prediction method used in Korean cohort studies is ordinary kriging. In this study, performance of ordinary kriging models for long-term particulate matter less than or equal to 10 μm in diameter (PM10) concentrations in seven major Korean cities was investigated with a focus on spatial prediction ability.
We obtained hourly PM10 data for 2010 at 226 urban-ambient monitoring sites in South Korea and computed annual average PM10 concentrations at each site. Given the annual averages, we developed ordinary kriging prediction models for each of the seven major cities and for the entire country by using an exponential covariance reference model and a maximum likelihood estimation method. For model evaluation, cross-validation was performed and mean square error and R-squared (R2) statistics were computed.
Mean annual average PM10 concentrations in the seven major cities ranged between 45.5 and 66.0 μg/m3 (standard deviation=2.40 and 9.51 μg/m3, respectively). Cross-validated R2 values in Seoul and Busan were 0.31 and 0.23, respectively, whereas the other five cities had R2 values of zero. The national model produced a higher crossvalidated R2 (0.36) than those for the city-specific models.
In general, the ordinary kriging models performed poorly for the seven major cities and the entire country of South Korea, but the model performance was better in the national model. To improve model performance, future studies should examine different prediction approaches that incorporate PM10 source characteristics.
PMCID: PMC4178540  PMID: 25262773
Exposure prediction; Health effect; Kriging; Long-term exposure; Particulate matter
5.  Health Risk Assessment of Lead Ingestion Exposure by Particle Sizes in Crumb Rubber on Artificial Turf Considering Bioavailability 
The purpose of this study was to assess the risk of ingestion exposure of lead by particle sizes of crumb rubber in artificial turf filling material with consideration of bioavailability.
This study estimated the ingestion exposure by particle sizes (more than 250 um or less than 250 um) focusing on recyclable ethylene propylene diene monomer crumb rubber being used as artificial turf filling. Analysis on crumb rubber was conducted using body ingestion exposure estimate method in which total content test method, acid extraction method and digestion extraction method are reflected. Bioavailability which is a calibrating factor was reflected in ingestion exposure estimate method and applied in exposure assessment and risk assessment. Two methods using acid extraction and digestion extraction concentration were compared and evaluated.
As a result of the ingestion exposure of crumb rubber material, the average lead exposure amount to the digestion extraction result among crumb rubber was calculated to be 1.56×10-4 mg/kg-day for low grade elementary school students and 4.87×10-5 mg/kg-day for middle and high school students in 250 um or less particle size, and that to the acid extraction result was higher than the digestion extraction result. Results of digestion extraction and acid extraction showed that the hazard quotient was estimated by about over 2 times more in particle size of lower than 250 um than in higher than 250 um. There was a case of an elementary school student in which the hazard quotient exceeded 0.1.
Results of this study confirm that the exposure of lead ingestion and risk level increases as the particle size of crumb rubber gets smaller.
PMCID: PMC3278598  PMID: 22355803
Artificial turf; Bioavailability; Crumb rubber; Exposure assessment; Lead
6.  Health Risks Assessment in Children for Phthalate Exposure Associated with Childcare Facilities and Indoor Playgrounds 
This study assessed the health risks for children exposed to phthalate through several pathways including house dust, surface wipes and hand wipes in child facilities and indoor playgrounds.
The indoor samples were collected from various children's facilities (40 playrooms, 42 daycare centers, 44 kindergartens, and 42 indoor-playgrounds) in both summer (Jul-Sep, 2007) and winter (Jan-Feb, 2008). Hazard index (HI) was estimated for the non-carcinogens and the examined phthalates were diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), and butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP). The present study examined these four kinds of samples, i.e., indoor dust, surface wipes of product and hand wipes.
Among the phthalates, the detection rates of DEHP were 98% in dust samples, 100% in surface wipe samples, and 95% in hand wipe samples. In this study, phthalate levels obtained from floor dust, product surface and children's hand wipe samples were similar to or slightly less compared to previous studies. The 50th and 95th percentile value of child-sensitive materials did not exceed 1 (HI) for all subjects in all facilities.
For DEHP, DnBP and BBzP their detection rates through multi-routes were high and their risk based on health risk assessment was also observed to be acceptable. This study suggested that ingestion and dermal exposure could be the most important pathway of phthalates besides digestion through food.
PMCID: PMC3214980  PMID: 22125769
Phthalate; Childcare facilities; Health risk assessment; Multi-route exposure

Results 1-6 (6)