In the risk management of chemical substances, environmental studies start by assessing local concentrations of such substances and evaluating the under which people are exposed to them. There are many models for estimating concentration distributions of chemical substances in the environment, particularly in Western countries, but very few have been used in actual risk assessments. These models are inapplicable because none satisfies both the (1) operability, including processing I/O datasets, and (2) variables, such as validation in actual environments, necessary for conducting actual risk assessment. Nevertheless, peripheral technology development and model validation are essential for users, as well as for achieving practical applications for software for risk assessment.

AIST’s Atmospheric Dispersion Model for Exposure and Risk Assessment (ADMER) estimates regional spatiotemporal distribution of concentrations of chemical substances — for instance, the Kanto and Kinki areas — and issues predictions of the monthly averages at spatial resolutions of 5 x 5 km within six time zones. In addition to estimating atmospheric concentrations and deposition distribution, ADMER offers a wide range of basic functions — grid emission preparation, meteorological data processing and analysis, and estimated concentration analysis, including exposed population calculations.

With ADMER, basic data for exposure and risk assessment can be easily collected — data including the population exposed to concentration levels higher than those regulated by law, and decreases in exposed population after emission reduction. ADMER allows estimates of spatiotemporal concentration distributions over a wide area — from simulation model specialists and risk assessment researchers to the staff of national organizations, local governments and private corporations. As a result, ADMER is looking forward to commissions for developing risk assessments for chemical substances, particularly those considering spatiotemporal distribution. Furthermore, since ADMER gives validations in actual environments, it also checks emission data acquired by PRTR and other sources.

Haruyuki Higashino ,Ph.D.
Leader for Environmental Exposure Modeling Team
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology

This work was funded in part by the Comprehensive Chemical Substance Assessment and Management Program of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).