A state-of-the-art review of methods and procedures for assessing the risks to human health posed by environmental chemicals. Addressed to regulatory authorities, risk managers and other decision-makers, the book aims to demystify the principles of risk assessment and thus encourage wider use of this powerful tool for protecting populations. Since the detection of chemical hazards may have socioeconomic and political consequences, the book gives particular attention to methods for the accurate identification of risks and determination of their severity. The book has four chapters covering each logical step in the process of risk assessment. The first, on hazard identification, explains how data on a chemical's toxicity and mode of action can be used to determine whether the chemical will cause adverse effects on health. The strengths and limitations of different types of data are discussed together with criteria commonly used to establish causality. Methods for assessing dose-response relationships are reviewed in chapter two, which explains how to characterize the relationship between the dose administered or received and the incidence of an adverse effect.Exposure assessment is covered in the next chapter, which describes methods for determining the nature and extent of contact with chemical substances and discusses the characteristics of exposure in the general environment, in the workplace, and from consumer products.
The final chapter explains the procedure of risk characterization as a decision-making tool that brings together estimates of exposure levels and risks and summarizes sources of uncertainty in the scientific data. Practical options for risk management are presented as a range of regulatory, non-regulatory, economic, and technological measures.