Receptors are the living organisms (humans, animals and plants) that may be affected by exposure to a chemical hazard. Receptors are unique for a given contaminated site and exposure scenario. It is the receptor that is affected by the risk that is being assessed.
Humans as Receptors
Humans are often subdivided on the basis of age group (Health Canada 2004). Typical age groups are as follows:
- infants (0 to 6 months),
- toddlers (7 months to 4 years),
- child (5 years to 11 years),
- teen (12 – 19 years) and
- adults (20+ years).
Age groups are assessed separately because many of the factors determining the degree of exposure are different. In addition, certain age groups are more susceptible to chemically mediated effects (i.e., infants, toddlers and pregnant woman are often the most sensitive to chemical exposure)(Health Canada 2004).