Exposure characterization

We characterize human exposure to gases and aerosols / particles at workplaces, in indoor air and in the environment, with a focus on inhalation exposure. For this purpose, we combine state-of-the-art measurement technology with mathematical modeling tools and provide necessary adaptations to customize a solution to a client's specific needs or guarantee its compliance with relevant regulations.

Model rooms of various sizes and with adjustable air exchange rates are available for the realistic simulation of aerosol release from spray products and measurement of inhalation exposure, as well as customized measurement technology and methods for analyzing aerosols and gases. 

The results serve to assess risks to human health and the environment, to support substance and product registration and authorization, and to improve product safety. The required studies are performed at the Fraunhofer ITEM in compliance with national and international regulations (both GLP and non-GLP).

Exposure characterization
© Fraunhofer ITEM, Ralf Mohr

Overview of our services

Physical and chemical characterization of inhalation exposure

  • Aerosols (dusts, (nano)particles, vapors, microorganisms) and gases (volatile and semi-volatile compounds)
  • Workplace, consumer and environment
  • Different model rooms in which pollutant release processes are realistically simulated

Modeling of inhalation exposure

  • Physico-chemical models to determine inhalation exposure (1-box, 2-box models, ConsExpo, ...)
  • Development of mathematical simulation models for exposure assessment (indoor, environment) (2-box models, ConsExpo, SprayExpo)
  • Design of exposure scenarios (indoor, environment)
  • Lung deposition and uptake (inhalation-focused pharmacokinetic modeling, clearance, solubility, ADME, interspecies comparison)

Development of customized measurement and process technology

  • Measurement technology for dusts and aerosols (PM10, PM2.5, exhaust gases, nanoparticles)
  • Method development for the collection and analysis of airborne substances

Focus: Exposure Characterization from Cosmetic Spray products

A particular focus is on determining the inhalation exposure of cosmetic spray products. Increased requirements for inhalation exposure characterization have led to challenges in the exposure and safety assessment of new cosmetic spray products.

To support the industry, we have developed novel methods which, on the one hand, allow exposure to be determined efficiently under current directives and, on the other hand, allow the optimization of cosmetic spray products towards minimal inhalation exposure to substances of concern (Safe-by-Design).

In the sense of safe-by-design, the combination of exposure studies with in vitro inhalation toxicology studies can also be used as a supporting tool for the development of in vitro to in vivo extrapolation strategies already in the development phase of cosmetic products.

Recent Publications

Schäferhenrich, A., Blümlein, K., Koch, W., Hahn, S., Schwarz, K., Poppek, U., Hebisch, R., Schlüter, U., Krug, M., Göen, T. (2023). "Inhalation and dermal exposure to biocidal products during foam and spray applications." Ann Work Expo Health [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxad037 - Open Access

Schwarz, K., Blümlein, K., Göen, T., Hahn, S., Hebisch, R., Koch, W., Poppek, U., Schäferhenrich, A., Schluter, U., Krug, M. (2023). "Aerosol formation during foam application of non-volatile biocidal substances." Ann Work Expo Health 67(6): 731-743. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxad031 - Open Access

Schwarz K, Pappa G, Miertsch H, Scheel J, Koch W. A methodology for the assessment of inhalation exposure to aluminium from antiperspirant sprays. Arch Toxicol. 2018 Apr;92(4):1383-1392. doi: 10.1007/s00204-017-2151-2. Epub 2017 Dec 21. PMID: 29270807 - Open Access


Katharina Schwarz

Contact Press / Media

Dr.-Ing. Katharina Schwarz

Head of Department of Aerosol Technology and Aerosol Biophysics

Phone +49 511 5350-139

Stefan Hahn

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Stefan Hahn

Senior Scientist

Phone +49 511 5350-326