Environmental Risk Assessment evaluates the possible harm to human health or the environment as a result of exposure to certain chemicals. These assessments focus on differentiating between actual versus perceived problems for human health and the environment based on the site specific characteristics, and clearly communicate the realistic issues. Risk assessments generally integrate the following components:
- Problem Formulation – conceptual model that identifies the environmental values to be protected and the selection of chemicals that can potentially cause an adverse effect;
- Exposure Assessment – identification of current and potential pathways to different kinds of receptors (child, adult, etc);
- Toxicity/Effects Assessment – description of the relationship between chemical dose and anticipated response;
- Risk Characterization – presentation of the risk estimate and uncertainties/assumptions associated with them
Use of Risk Assessment in the decision-making process can result in more effective resource efficient remediation or treatment and improved public relations.