ConsExpo Web is a web-based software tool that supports the assessment of consumer exposure to substances in consumer products. ConsExpo Web provides a number of generally applicable exposure assessment models and a database of exposure factors. Together, the models and the database provide a basis on which exposure from a specific product can be estimated. Fact sheets provide well-founded bases for exposure scenarios to different product categories and provide default values for several parameters. When information is available on product composition and the physicochemical properties of the specific substance a consumer exposure assessment can be performed using ConsExpo Web.
The Manual ‘ConsExpo Web. Consumer exposure models – model documentation. Update for ConsExpo Web 1.0.2.' provides user guidance and background information on the ConsExpo Web tool.
This manual describes in detail how to conduct consumer exposure assessments with ConsExpo Web. It describes how to add multiple scenarios to an assessment, how to select models and how to select model inputs. Different output measures and methods of evaluating and visualizing exposure are also discussed. The manual also provides a detailed description of the ConsExpo models. ConsExpo Web contains models to estimate exposure via inhalation, dermal contact and oral ingestion. The exposure models vary in complexity, from simple screening models to more advanced, physics-based models. Furthermore, it is explained how ConsExpo can be used to obtain insight into the factors affecting exposure to substances in consumer products by using the sensitivity analysis and probabilistic evaluation tools.
The most recent manual on ConsExpo Web can be found via the Help page (Tab in ConsExpo Web; https://www.rivm.nl/en/consexpo/help), as RIVM report on the website (http://www.rivm.nl/bibliotheek/rapporten/2017-0197.pdf).
Besides, ConsExpo Web contains question mark buttons ? in the tool. When you click on the question mark, information on the model and exposure parameters is provided. Information and further developments on the model and Consumer Exposure in general are shared via the LinkedIn community “Consumer Exposure and ConsExpo”.
When you still have questions, you can approach the ConsExpo team via firstname.lastname@example.org
The ConsExpo team has provided beginner and advanced courses. On request, tailor courses can be developed and given at your institute or organisation. At the moment, no courses are planned. Please contact us if you are interested to follow a course at email@example.com for more information.
The previous versions of ConsExpo Web were the versions CONSEXPO, CONSEXPO 2, CONSEXPO 3, ConsExpo 4.0, ConsExpo 4.1 and a separate version including an aggregate exposure option ConsExpo 5 beta. The first two versions of ConsExpo were stand-alone versions that were primarily for internal use at RIVM. The 5 beta version, though available in the past via our website, was never officially released.
ConsExpo Web replaced ConsExpo 4.1 as the latest official version. The functionalities present in ConsExpo 4.1 have been included in ConsExpo Web, with addition of the emission tool.
Please note that ConsExpo 4.1 files can be imported in the ConsExpo Web tool. There is no longer support for ConsExpo 4.1 software related issues. Nevertheless, questions related to the models used for the calculations with ConsExpo 4.1 can still be send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ConsExpo Web can be used to assess the exposure to substances from consumer products. The tool includes different models to assess the exposure by the inhalation, dermal and oral route. Further, the tool provides defaults for a wide variety of products via a built-in database based on several product category fact sheets (see fact sheets) The ConsExpo user can also setup and safe one’s own assessment.
The exposure models are a subset of models per exposure route. The inhalation route is subdivided into exposure to vapour (instantaneous release, constant rate, evaporation), exposure to spray (instantaneous release, spray model), and emission from solid materials (emission tool).
The dermal route can be assessed with 5 different models: instant application, constant rate, diffusion, migration and rubbing off.
The oral route can be assessed using models from the direct product contact subset (direct oral intake, constant rate, mouthing), from migration from food packaging material, and the oral exposure can be assessed with the non-respirable spray model (included in the spray model under inhalation route).
The required input varies depending on the exposure route and type of model selected. Basically, ConsExpo Web requires information on the product, the substance of interest, the residential setting where the product is used and on the subject that is exposed. The latter could be the subject applying the product, both could also be a resident.
Default values to parameterize the spray model have changed over time. Differences exist between the default values now included in ConsExpo Web compared to the values in the product fact sheets published in 2006 and 2007. Please note that the values as presented in ConsExpo Web and in the Cleaning agents Fact Sheet are up to date.
The updated defaults stem from spray experiments conducted on request of RIVM in the period 2005 to 2007. The experiments and findings were reported in Delmaar & Bremmer, (2009; https://www.rivm.nl/bibliotheek/rapporten/320104005.pdf). This report resulted in new defaults that were sperately documented in 2010 (https://www.rivm.nl/documenten/new-defaults-for-spray-model). At that time, ConsExpo 4.1 received a database update including those new defaults. As such, the new defaults have also been copied into ConsExpo Web (available since October 2016).
Additional information with regard to spray model defaults can be found in the “overarchings issues document”( https://www.rivm.nl/documenten/overarching-issues-consexpo-web-and-fact…).
The factor for dilution is currently only implemented in the inhalation model.
For a cleaning product, for both the dermal and inhalation route, the weight fraction is the weight fraction (concentration) of the chemical substance in the product.
In case of the inhalation model, the dilution can be included by filling in a value at the factor for dilution.
In case of the dermal model, the dilution is already included in the product amount set as default for that type of product, when using defaults from the ConsExpo database.
Molecular weight of the matrix: this parameter needs to be defined if the substance in question is not in its pure form, but part of a product. It is the average molecular weight of the rest of the total product (the product minus the substance in question).
A formula how to derive this from the concentrations and molecular weights of the components of the product can be found at page 36 of 67 of the manual (RIVM report 2017-0197).
Information on the migration rate of a specific chemical substance from a specific matrix/article might be found in the scientific literature. However, this migration rate differs per combination of substance and matrix.
Some information is available in the following OECD document:
The 10% of amount on the skin is available for oral ingestion due to hand-to-mouth behavior is described in the Pest Control Fact Sheet. However, it is not by any means a fixed default that can be used for other products without context.
In the particular exposure scenario for pest control products, it is assumed that 50% of the contaminated hands from rubbing treated surfaces is contacted by the mouth leading to oral ingestion. Fifty percent of the hand surface area equals to 10% of the total exposed skin area in that exposure scenario (the hands make up 20% of the total uncovered skin of infants contacted a treated surface).
The inhalation cut-off diameter is only an approximation of the complicated process of deposition of particles in the lung. It can be assumed that its value will be around 10-15 micrometer for particles able to reach the lower regions of the lungs. It is acknowledged that for smaller particles higher percentages will reach the lower lungs. In the past, the ConsExpo project team made the choice for 15 µm and for consistency reasons this is not changed later on.
The weight fraction of a substance in a product may change upon contact due to dilution, evaporation of solvents, and/or at the moment there is dermal contact. For example, the inhalation exposure can occur from the concentrated product, but dermal exposure will only occur upon contact with the solution containing the product.
In the oral model “product mouthing” in ConsExpo Web an exposure duration is requested. This is the amount of time a product is mouthed. Within the ConsExpo project, currently no default mouthing times are included.
The following documents might help you to select a relevant mouthing time for your scenario:
- RIVM report “Oral exposure of children to chemicals via hand-to-mouth contact”(320005004/2007)
- REACH consumer exposure guidance (R15 from 2016); on page 24 – Chapter R.15.2.5. Habits and practices of children
- OECD-document “Estimating Mouthing Exposure in Children - Compilation of Case Studies
- US-EPA Children's exposure factors handbook (2008); see Table 4-15
The molecular weight matrix is based on the molecular weights of the components within the matrix. It is determined by calculating the average of the molecular weights, corrected for concentration, of the rest of the total product, minus the substance you are interested in. This is described in the manual (RIVM report 2017-0197 (page 36 of 67)). This implies that the molecular weight matrix is different for the product of interest if you consider another substance in the product for your assessment. In many cases, the composition of a product is not completely known and therefore the molecular weight matrix is often approximated by considering knowledge of the general composition of a product. Basing the molecular weight matrix on the main component is a possibility to approximate the molecular weight matrix, e.g. if water is the main solvent used in a product the value can be set at 18 g/mol. For products that contain or form polymers, e.g. glues a higher molecular weight matrix is assumed by default, i.e. 3000 g/mol. If there is no knowledge about the other components then one could assume that the molecular weight of the matrix is the same as the product of interest. This way model will disregard the possible effects on the evaporation due to the presence of other substances.
The surface area that is considered in the calculations is determined by the tool itself based on the user input on the contacted surface, the transfer coefficient and the contact time. The transfer coefficient (TC: in m2/h) and contact time (t: in h) describe the surface area that is effectively contacted in the scenario leading to transfer of substance from surface to the skin. The effective transfer is limited, however, to the contacted surface (CS: in m2) that can be regarded as the maximum surface area that can be effectively contacted. In other words, if TC x t > CS, than the tool will use the CS. If TC x t < CS, the tool uses the product of TC x t in its calculations.
Fact sheets are documents presenting exposure information to derive standardized and harmonized estimations of the exposure to substances from consumer products, while using ConsExpo Web. In the fact sheets, information about exposure to chemical substances is compiled per certain product categories and default parameters are given. Main product categories with similar products have been defined. Fact sheets provide background information on a product category. Fact sheets contain information on various exposure scenarios for the specific products and set defaults for relevant exposure parameters. On the one hand, the fact sheets are developed for characterizing and standardizing the exposure estimation in combination with the ConsExpo Web tool. On the other hand, the information in the fact sheet is useful for any consumer exposure estimation without the use of the software. The default values are presented as deterministic values, but, if available, the statistical information is also provided if possible.
The following fact sheets are available:
- General fact sheet
- Air Fresheners Fact Sheet
- Cleaning products fact sheet
- Cosmetics fact sheet
- Disinfectant products fact sheet
- Do-It-Yourself products fact sheet
- Paint products fact sheet
- Pest control products fact sheet
- Children's toys fact sheet (please note, defaults from this Fact Sheet are not included in the ConsExpo Web database).
During the development of ConsExpo Web and the update of the Cleaning Products Fact Sheet several overarching issues were discussed and implemented that are also of relevance for other product category Fact Sheets. As the update of all product category Fact Sheets may take several years, the information on the discussed topics is described in the document ‘Overarching issues – ConsExpo Web and fact sheets’.
The ConsExpo2015 project aims to update existing fact sheets and develop new fact sheets on additional product categories.
Currently, work is ongoing regarding the Fact Sheets on Do-It-Yourself Products, Cosmetics and Air Fresheners. For more information on (the development of) fact sheets, please contact email@example.com.
The reader is guided through the fact sheet and finds information about the aim to assess the exposure to a high-end user, and on the exposure scenario, model selection, input parameters, data quality and uncertainties.
The reader is always advised to check the default scenarios with their own substance and product of interest and adjust parameters if needed. Note that the parameters are selection within the context of the exposure scenario and model selection and should not be used as such outside this context.
It is possible to use ConsExpo for estimating the consumer exposure to chemicals present in textile products. However, currently the ConsExpo Web tool does not contain default scenarios for textile products and toys.
ConsExpo is developed as a model for consumer exposure estimation to chemical substances in consumer products used indoors.
In the case of inhalation exposure, for some specific products, such as anti-rain spray or a biocidal spray, used outdoors, ConsExpo Web could be used. In that case, we would suggest using a personal breathing zone. The use of a large room volume to reflect the outdoor ventilation condition is not advised as this will result in an unrealistic dilution.
The parameter values are chosen to generate a reasonable but sufficiently conservative exposure estimate. The reasonable worst-case aims to represent high-end users. To achieve this goal, the 75th or the 25th percentile is determined for each parameter. The 75th percentile is normally used for proportional parameters. However, a decrease in, for example, room volume or ventilation leads to an increase of the exposure estimate. In the case of such reverse proportional parameters, the 25th percentile is used. The dermal, inhalation and oral exposure models included in ConsExpo all require at least three input parameters; most require more. Setting the parameter values to the 75th percentile (or the 25th for parameters that are reversely proportional to exposure) is believed to result in a reasonable and sufficiently conservative estimate for those consumers who frequently use products in large amounts under unfavourable circumstances.
Other ConsExpo Web tool related questions
ConsExpo Web contains a report functionality. Using the download option, all textual information, parameter values and the calculated exposures can be exported as a .csv file, which can be imported in Excel.
As not all ConsExpo Web users find it easy to use the saved *.csv file; we elaborated a stepwise instruction:
- In ConsExpo Web, download and save your *.csv file to your chosen location/folder.
- Start Excel with a blank workbook open.
- Select 'Data' from the menu bar.
- Browse for the *.csv file you want to open and click 'Import'.
- In the Text import wizard, ensure the 'Delimited' option is selected. Click Next.
- In the Delimiters section, tick 'Comma'. The text qualifier box should show the double-quote symbol. Click Next.
- In the Column data format section, tick 'Text'. Click Finish.
- It may ask you 'Where do you want to put the data?'. It will allow you to click into any cell on the blank worksheet to determine where the data should go. Click 'OK' to proceed.
- The data should now appear in the spreadsheet. Where column headings are included, these will appear in the top row. Check that fields have not lost leading zeros where applicable.
With the result page as well as the report page, you could tick the box “show dose descriptions”, for some explanation on the exposure outcomes.
The most recent manual can be found via the Help page (Tab in ConsExpo Web; https://www.rivm.nl/en/consexpo/help), as RIVM report on the website (http://www.rivm.nl/bibliotheek/rapporten/2017-0197.pdf).
There is no defined limit to the number of assessments that can be stored in ConsExpo Web.
However, the tool was not designed to handle large numbers of assessments efficiently. It is advised, for practical reasons, to store your assessments on a local or network space and import the Ce-file when needed.
A Penetration test has been carried out on ConsExpo Web by an external party. The application has been extensively tested on this aspect and no vulnerabilities have been found.
ConsExpo Web is a web application where users must register and develop a personal log in. Only registered users have access to ConsExpo Web to perform exposure assessments. Registered users have only access to their own assessments (files). User management is done through a decent standard access manager server that is used for RIVM services. A password policy has been set up in which passwords must be sufficiently strong.
During development, special attention was devoted to keeping the assessments of the various users separate, to ensure users can not retrieve data from another user in any way via the web interface. ConsExpo Web is run on a dedicated RIVM server.
Yes; after 18 months of inactivity your ConsExpo account will be de-activated and deleted. After that you can always create a new account. Previously stored ConsExpo files on your computer or drive can be imported into the new account.
As a result of a job change or change in company email addresses you might lose access to the email address connected to your account. The ConsExpo team does not facilitate changing the email address to a different account, since we cannot guarantee specifics in the input data contain confidential business information. To avoid losing the information of your account you may export and import your assessments at your own responsibility between different user accounts.
The ConsExpo2015 project was initiated by RIVM to ensure a sustainable future for the ConsExpo software. Within the ConsExpo2015 project a web-based version of the ConsExpo software is developed and the actualisation started of the underlying exposure information in fact sheets on consumer product use. The project is financed and run by a number of partners. The partners and RIVM have a central role in the ConsExpo2015 project as they are members of the Supervisory Committee, the actual client of the project. In addition, the project has an Advisory Group representing users and other stakeholders of the ConsExpo model.
The present partners of the ConsExpo2015 project are Anses, BfR, FOPH and Health Canada. The partners contribute financially and/or in kind to the ConsExpo2015 project. The Dutch Government (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports and the Netherlands Food and Product Safety Authority) have contributed to the development of ConsExpo since 1993 and are still proud partners of the ConsExpo2015 project.
ECHA are observers in the Supervisory Committee of the ConsExpo2015 project.
Governmental, semi-governmental and/or scientific organisations can join the ConsExpo2015 project as partner. As partner, you contribute financially and become member of the Supervisory Committee overseeing the ConsExpo project and making strategic choices on the development of the project.
Partners can contribute both financially as well as in kind to the project. If you are interested, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Advisory Group is open to all ConsExpo Web users and stakeholders.