Acute Exposure Guideline Levels

Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs) set levels of chemical concentration that pose a defined level of risk to humans (the general population, including susceptible individuals).[1][2][3] These levels are used in preventing and responding to disasters. These guidelines are ascertained for one, short exposure (with a maximum of eight hours) by the air. The AEGL values are determined for varying times of exposure, such as ten minutes, thirty minutes, one hour, four hours and eight hours.

The AEGL values describe the expected effects of inhalation exposure to certain compounds (airborne concentrations in ppm or mg/m3). Each AEGL is determined by different levels of a compound’s toxicological effects, based on the 4 Ds: detection, discomfort, disability and death. There are three levels of AEGL-values: AEGL-1AEGL-2 and AEGL-3.[2] AEGL-1 is the airborne concentration above which notable discomfort or irritation could be experienced. However, the effects are not disabling and reversible once exposure stops. AEGL-2 is the airborne concentration above which irreversible or other serious, long-lasting adverse health effects or an impaired ability to escape could be experienced. AEGL-3 is the airborne concentration above which life-threatening health effects or death could be experienced. An example is shown below for chlorine gas AEGLs:

AEGLs for chlorine (in ppm)[3]
10 min 30 min 60 min 4 hours 8 hours
AEGL-1 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50
AEGL-2 2.8 2.8 2.0 1.0 0.71
AEGL-3 50 28 20 10 7.1

In this example, several trends can be observed. First, as one moves from AEGL-1 to AEGL-3, the concentrations increase, based on the dose predicted to produce the respective effects (discomfort/irritation vs disability vs death). Second, as one moves from shorter exposures to longer (left to right in the same row), the overall concentration allowed decreases due to the effects of cumulative dose. This is not always the case for AEGL-1 values, however, since they represent a threshold for non-disabling outcomes and sometimes only depend on air concentration.[3]

References

  1. ^“Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Airborne Chemicals”. Environmental Protection Agency.
  2. ^ Jump up to:ab “Acute Exposure Guideline Levels Program”. dels.nas.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  3. ^ Jump up to:ab c “Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs)”. Office of Response and Restoration. Retrieved 2019-04-28.

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