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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 904603, 11 pages
Review Article

Application of Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Models in Chemical Risk Assessment

1Computational Toxicology and Methods Development Laboratory, Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine (DTEM), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
2National Center for Toxicological Research, USFDA, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA
3Division of Laboratory Studies, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA 30341, USA

Received 20 October 2011; Accepted 21 December 2011

Academic Editor: Kannan Krishnan

Copyright © 2012 Moiz Mumtaz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Post-exposure risk assessment of chemical and environmental stressors is a public health challenge. Linking exposure to health outcomes is a 4-step process: exposure assessment, hazard identification, dose response assessment, and risk characterization. This process is increasingly adopting “in silico” tools such as physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models to fine-tune exposure assessments and determine internal doses in target organs/tissues. Many excellent PBPK models have been developed. But most, because of their scientific sophistication, have found limited field application—health assessors rarely use them. Over the years, government agencies, stakeholders/partners, and the scientific community have attempted to use these models or their underlying principles in combination with other practical procedures. During the past two decades, through cooperative agreements and contracts at several research and higher education institutions, ATSDR funded translational research has encouraged the use of various types of models. Such collaborative efforts have led to the development and use of transparent and user-friendly models. The “human PBPK model toolkit” is one such project. While not necessarily state of the art, this toolkit is sufficiently accurate for screening purposes. Highlighted in this paper are some selected examples of environmental and occupational exposure assessments of chemicals and their mixtures.