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Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment

Basic Information

More Resources:

Risk Assessment FAQ
Frequently asked questions about general risk assessment issues

Risk Assessment Glossary
Definitions for some key risk assessment terms

The National Academy of Sciences Risk Assessment Paradigm forms the basis for risk assessment within EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER). Click a topic in the diagram below for more information on that topic.

Policy Risk Management Exposure Assessment Exposure Response Assessment Science, Research, Validation, Monitoring Risk Characterization Hazard Identification

Human health risk assessment is the characterization of the potential adverse health effects of human exposures to environmental hazards. Risk assessments can be either quantitative or qualitative in nature. The elements of a human health risk assessment consist of planning and scoping, acute hazards, evaluating toxicity, assessing exposures and characterizing risks.

Ecological risk assessment "evaluates the likelihood that adverse ecological effects may occur or are occurring as a result of exposure to one or more stressors." The process is used to systematically evaluate and organize data, information, assumptions, and uncertainties in order to help understand and predict the relationships between stressors and ecological effects in a way that is useful for environmental decision making. The elements of an ecological risk assessment consist of planning and scoping, problem formulation, evaluating toxicity, assessing exposures and characterizing risks.

In EPA's Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment programs, risk assessments are performed for several different reasons. More detailed descriptions of risk assessment within each program can be found by visiting the links below:

EPA waste risk managers use the results of the human health and ecological risk assessments along with engineering data and other considerations, such as economic and legal concerns, to reach decisions regarding the need for and practicability of implementing various risk reduction activities and as a basis for communicating risks to interested parties and the public.

OSWER Home | Waste and Cleanup Risk Assessment Home

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