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Risk Assessment in EIA

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Modified on Mon, 21 Sep 2009 14:50 by Bridget-IAIAhq Categorized as Uncategorized

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   Overview
   Resources

Overview

The fundamental principles associated with risk assessment studies were enunciated in the 1970s, with the planning and conduction of such studies moving toward maturity in the subsequent decades. Early risk assessments focused on human health and traditionally encompasses components on hazard (risk) identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies were also initiated in the 1970s, with their primary focus in the initial decade toward impacts on physical/ chemical and ecological components of the environment. Human health risks were often not addressed or only marginally considered in EIA studies; however, water resources development project EIAs in developing countries often focused on disease transmission and resultant health impacts as a consequence of construction worker carriers and the enhancement of mosquito breeding conditions.

Risk assessment studies in many countries were initially directed toward regulatory issues such as establishing environmental quality standards, and on the carcinogenic effects of synthetic chemicals on humans. In more recent years the emphases have been expanded toward ecological risks and noncarcinogenic effects on humans. Adaptations of classical risk assessment studies have also been directed toward environmental problem assessments and remediation needs. Remedial action programs for uncontrolled hazardous waste sites, called Superfund sites in the United States, have incorporated risk assessment principles in the comparison of alternatives and decision making associated therewith.

Increased attention is now being given to ecological risks in relation to contaminant assessments and environmental management programs. Ecological risk assessment has been defined as a process that evaluates the probability or likelihood that adverse ecological effects will occur (or have occurred or are occurring) as a result of exposure to stressors from various human activities. Such effects can occur on non-human ecological components ranging from organisms, to populations and communities, to ecosystems. Stressors can be chemical, physical, biological, or radiological in nature, with the major portion of current interest related to the use and/or current or previous disposal of industrial chemicals or pesticides. A given ecological risk assessment study could be narrow (one ecological component, one stressor, and one human activity) or comprehensive (multiple ecological components, multiple stressors, and multiple activities).

Both human health risk assessment and ecological risk assessment within the EIA process can be accomplished using one to several of the following approaches:
(1) addressing actual or perceived risks using a descriptive or qualitative approach;
(2) calculation or determination of a relative risk index based on information on several selected factors;
(3) relative comparisons of the perceived risks of the alternatives being evaluated; and/or
(4) a quantitative, probabilistic approach focused on actual risks of the alternatives being evaluated.

Risk assessment considerations can include human health and/or ecological risks, and combinations thereof. Such considerations can be focused on only one aspect of the project being addressed (e.g., use of pesticides in vegetation management), or on one phase (e.g., construction or operation or decom-missioning), or on the entirety of all aspects and phases.

It is timely to incorporate risk assessment tools in the EIA process. The possibilities range from the determination of relative risk indices for single issues such as the choice of pesticides or herbicides in forestry or range management plans, to the use of environmental pathways modeling and risk calculation for industrial plant and/or waste site emissions, to the use of quantitative probabilistic calculations for industrial or power plant accidents or for highway/railway accidents and associated chemical spills. The potential benefits of the inclusion of risk assessment include:
(1) the encouragement for integrated thinking (such as for environmental transport pathways and associated health/ecological effects) by the interdisciplinary teams conducting EIA studies;
(2) the opportunity to focus attention on risk reduction activities such as waste minimization, pollution prevention, and mitigation measures; and
(3) the inclusion of emphases on emergency response measures in the event of accidents and associated environmental perturbations.

Resources

Each citation below has been coded by type of reference and topical coverage. The five type codes are:

B = book
CB = conference-based book
J = peer-reviewed journal article
R = report by government
W = website

The five codes for topical coverage include:

BI = basic information
E = evaluation of risk assessment
CS = case study or generic information related to a type of project
G = guidance (or protocols)
SA = specific application of risk assessment to the EIA process

Arquiga, M.C., Canter, L.W., and Nelson, D.I. 1992. “Risk Assessment Principles in Environmental Impact Studies”, The Environmental Professional, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 204-219. (J, SA)

Bare, J.C. 2006. “Risk Assessment and Life-Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) for Human Health Cancerous and Noncancerous Emissions: Integrated with and Complementary with Consistency within the USEPA”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 12, Issue 4, pp. 493-509. (J, E)

Bobylev, N. 2004. “Comparative Risk Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment: Similarity in Quantitative Methods”, in Comparative Risk Assessment and Environmental Decision Making, Linkov, I., and Bakr Ramadan, A., editors, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Springer Netherlands, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 297-303. (CB, SA)

Calow, P, editor. 1998. Handbook of Environmental Risk Assessment and Management, Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, England. (B, BI)

Canter, L.W. 1993. “Pragmatic Suggestions for Incorporating Risk Assessment in EIA”, The Environmental Professional, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 125-138. (J, SA)

Carpenter, R.A. 1995. “Risk Assessment”, Ch. 9 in Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, Vanclay, F., and Bronstein, D.A., editors, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, England, pp. 193-219. (B, SA)

Cohrssen, J.J., and Covello, V.T. 1989. “Risk Analysis: A Guide to Principles and Methods for Analyzing Health and Environmental Risks”, Council on Environmental Quality, Washington, D.C. (R, BI)

Cura, J.J., Bridges, T.S., and McArdle, M.E. 2004. “Comparative Risk Assessment Methods and Their Applicability to Dredged Material Management Decision-Making”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 10, Issue 3, pp. 485-503. (J, CS)

Daugherty, J.E. 1998. Assessment of Chemical Exposures – Calculation Methods for Environmental Professionals, Lewis Publishers, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida. (B, BI)

Dearfield, K.L., Bender, E.S., Kravitz, M., Wentsel, R., Slimak, M.W., Farland, W.H., and Gilman, P. 2005. “Ecological Risk Assessment Issues Identified During the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Examination of Risk Assessment Practices”, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 73-76. (J, E)

Demidova, O., and Cherp, A. 2005. “Risk Assessment for Improved Treatment of Health Considerations in EIA”, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp. 411-429. (J, SA)

DeMott, R.P., Balaraman, A., and Sorensen, M.T. 2005. “The Future Direction of Ecological Risk Assessment in the United States: Reflecting on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Examination of Risk Assessment Principles and Practices”, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 77-82. (J, E)

Eduljee, G. 1999. “Risk Assessment”, Ch. 17 in Handbook of Environmental Impact Assessment – Vol. 1 – Environmental Impact Assessment: Process, Methods, and Potential, Petts, J., editor, Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, England, pp. 374-404. (B, SA)

International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS). 1999. “Principles for the Assessment of Risks to Human Health from Exposure to Chemicals”. Environmental Health Criteria 210, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. (R, BI)

International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS). 2000. “Human Exposure Assessment”, Environmental Health Criteria 214, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. (R, BI)

Kouskouna, M.I. undated. “The Legal Context for Environmental Risk Assessment and Management”, University of Athens, Faculty of Law, Athens, Greece. (R, BI)

Landis, W.G., and Wiegers, J.K. 2007. “Ten Years of the Relative Risk Model and Regional Scale Ecological Risk Assessment”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 25-38. (J, CS)

Langowski, Jr., J.F., Pettit, E.M., Duncan, B.V., and Ott, J.F. 1993. “Guidebook for Risk Perception and Communication in Water Resources Planning, Part II – Annotated Bibliography”, IWR Report 93-R-14, Institute for Water Resources, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (R, CS)

Lexer, W., Paluchova, K., and Schwarzl, B. 2005. “Risk Assessment D 32 Report WP 3”, Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Spatial Planning, Vienna, Austria. (R, BI)

Lohani, B.N., Evans, J.W., Ludwig, H., Everitt, R.R., Carpenter, R.A., and Tu, S.L. 1997. “Environmental Impact Assessment for Developing Countries in Asia – Vol. 1 – Overview”, Asian Development Bank, Manilla, Philippines, pp. 5-1 to 5-45. (R, SA)

Molak, V. editor. 1997. Fundamentals of Risk Analysis and Risk Management, Lewis Publishers, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. (B, BI)

Munns, Jr., W.R., Berry, W.J., and Dewitt, T.H. 2002. “Toxicity Testing, Risk Assessment, and Options for Dredged Material Management”, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 44, Issue 4, pp. 294-302. (J, CS)

Parekh, A.A., and Dearfield, K.L. 2007. “USEPA’s Risk Assessment Practice: Extrapolation Between Species”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 96-100. (J, E)

Preuss, P.W., Vandenberg, J.J., Tuxen, L., and Cote, I.L. 2007. “Risk Assessment at the USEPA: The Science Behind the Assessments”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 41-45. (J, E)

Russell, C. 1993. “Guidebook for Risk Perception and Communication in Water Resources Planning, Part I – Underpinnings and Planning Applications”, IWR Report 93-R-13, Institute for Water Resources, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (R, CS)

Sass, J. 2007. “Recommendations for Improved Risk Assessment Approaches”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 88-95. (J, E)

Schaub, S. 2004. “A Risk Assessment Framework for Waterborne Pathogens and Requirements for Producing a Complete Protocol”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 151-158. (J, CS)

Schoeny, R. 2007. “USEPA’s Risk Assessment Practice: Default Assumptions, Uncertainty Factors”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 70-76. (J, E)

Slovic, P. 1987. “Perception of Risk”, Science, Vol. 236, April 17, pp. 280-285. (J, BI)

Smrchek, J.C., and Zeeman, M.G. 1998. “Assessing Risks to Ecological Systems from Chemicals”, Ch. 3 in Handbook of Environmental Risk Assessment and Management, Calow, P., editor, Blackwell Science, Ltd., London, England, pp. 24-90. (B, BI)

Sprenger, M.D., and Charters, D.W. 1997. “Ecological Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Process for Designing and Conducting Ecological Risk Assessments -- Interim Final”, EPA 540-R97-006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. (R, G)

Steevens, J., Kennedy, A., Farrar, D., McNemar, C., Reiss, M.R., Kropp, R.K., Doi, J., and Bridges, T. 2008. “Dredged Material Analysis Tools – Performance of Acute and Chronic Sediment Toxicity Methods”, Report No. ERDC/EL TR-08-16, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Laboratory, Vicksburg, Mississippi. (R, G)

Steinemann, A. 2000. “Rethinking Human Health Impact Assessment”, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 20, Issue 6, pp. 627-645. (J, BI)

Stelljes, M.E. 2000. Toxicology for Non-Toxicologists, Government Institutes, Rockville, Maryland. (B, BI)

Stern, P. C. and Fineberg, H.V., editors. 1996. Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society. National Academy Press, Washington D.C. (B, BI)

Suter, II, G.W. 2006. Ecological Risk Assessment, Second Edition, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. (B, BI)

Suter, II, G.W. 2006b. “Ecological Risk Assessment and Ecological Epidemiology for Contaminated Sites”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 12, Issue 1, pp. 31-38. (J, CS)

Suter, II, G.W. 1996. “Guide for Developing Conceptual Models for Ecological Risk Assessments”, ES/ER/TM-186, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (R, G)

Suter, II, G.W., Barnthouse, L.W., and O’Neill, R.V. 1987. “Treatment of Risk in Environmental Impact Assessment”, Environmental Management, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 295-303. (J, SA)

Suter, II, G.W., Cornaby, B.W., Hadden, C.T., Hull, R.N., Stack, M., and Zafran, F.A. 1995. “An Approach for Balancing Health and Ecological Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites”, Risk Analysis, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 221-231. (J, CS)

Technica, Ltd. 1988. “Techniques for Assessing Industrial Hazards”, Technical Paper No. 55, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. (R, BI)

The Greeley-Polhemus Group, Inc.1992a. “Guidelines for Risk and Uncertainty Analysis in Water Resources Planning”, Vol. I, IWR Report 92-R-1, Institute for Water Resources, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (R, CS)

The Greeley-Polhemus Group, Inc. 1992b. “Guidelines for Risk and Uncertainty Analysis in Water Resources Planning”, Vol. II, IWR Report 92-R-2, Institute for Water Resources, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (R, CS)

Thom, R.M., Diefenderfer, H.L., and Hofseth, K.D.. 2004. “A Framework for Risk Analysis in Ecological Restoration Projects”, IWR Report 04-R-02, Institute for Water Resources, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (R, CS)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1997. “Exposure Factors Handbook – Vol. I – General Factors”, Vol. II – Food Ingestion Factors”, and Vol. III – Activity Factors”, EPA/600/P-95/002Fa to c, Washington, D.C. (R, G)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1995. “Guidance for Risk Characterization”, Science Policy Council, Washington, D.C. (R, G)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2005. “Guidelines for Carcinogenic Risk Assessment”, EPA-630/P-03/001F, Washington, D.C. (R, G)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1998. “Guidelines for Ecological Risk Assessment”, EPA-630/R095/002F, Washington, D.C. (R, G)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1992. “Guidelines for Exposure Assessment”, FRL-4129-5, Washington, D.C. (R, G)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2005. “Human Health Risk Assessment Protocol (HHRAP) for Hazardous Waste Combustion Facilities”, EPA 520-R-05-006, Office of Solid Wastes, Washington, D.C. (R, CS)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2009. “Integrated Risk Information System”, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, D.C. (google on IRIS). (W, BI)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1998. “Methodology for Assessing Health Risk Associated with Multiple Pathways of Exposure to Combustor Emissions”, EPA 600/R-98/137, Washington, D.C. (R, CS)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1989a. “Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund – Volume I – Human Health Evaluation Manual (Part A)”, EPA/540/1-89/002, Washington, D.C. (R, CS)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1989b. “Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund – Volume II – Environmental Evaluation Manual”, EPA/540/1-89/001, Washington, D.C. (R, CS)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1990. “Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication of Drinking Water Contamination”, EPA/625/4-89/024, Office of Drinking Water, Washington, D.C. (R, CS)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2009. “Risk Assessment Portal”, Washington, D.C. (google on Risk Assessment Portal). (W, BI)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1988. “Superfund Exposure Assessment Manual”, EPA/540/1-88/001, Washington, D.C. (R, CS)

Whittaker, M.H. 2004. “Human Health Risk Assessment: Required Reading”, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 10, Issue 5, pp. 753-757. (J, BI)

World Bank. 1997. “Environmental Hazard and Risk Assessment”, Environmental Impact Assessment Sourcebook Update Number 21, Environment Department, Washington, D.C. (R, SA)

Yoe, C.E., and Skaggs, L. 1997. “Risk and Uncertainty Analysis Procedures for the Evaluation of Environmental Outputs”, IWR Report 97-R-7, Institute for Water Resources, Alexandria, Virginia. (R, CS)

Special thanks to Larry Canter for providing initial content for this IAIA Wiki topic.
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