Risk Assessment

ITRC’s Decision Making at Contaminated Sites: Issues and Options in Human Health Risk Assessment (RISK-3, 2015) guidance document is a resource for project managers and decision-makers to evaluate alternatives to risk assessment default approaches, scenarios, and parameters, thereby promoting greater confidence in the conclusions reached and the actions required.

Many state and local regulatory agencies responsible for the cleanup of chemicals released to the environment have adopted regulations and policies that define approaches for the use of risk assessment in the cleanup decision-making process. These regulations, guidance, and policies often incorporate risk management decisions that define default approaches, scenarios, and parameters as a starting point for risk assessment and the development of risk-based screening values. However, they rely on the professional judgment of the project managers and decision-makers to apply alternative approaches, scenarios, and parameters for site-specific risk assessments.

The goal of this project was to identify common issues encountered by project managers when preparing or reviewing a site-specific risk assessment and discuss options for addressing these issues. The project focused on five subjects associated with conducting and reviewing risk assessments for the cleanup of contaminated sites: planning, data evaluation, toxicity, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. A discussion of risk management and risk communication is also included.