|Weaknesses of Risk Assessment|
In a presentation to the American Public Health Association, Lawrie Mott, Senior Scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, outlined the weaknesses and faults of risk assessment in determining the effect environmental threats have on children.
The following factors demonstrate that risk assessment is seriously flawed in a number of aspects that result in an underestimation of real world risks.
1. Risk assessments, for the most part, have focused on single routes of exposure to single compounds - not an accurate picture of the world we live in.
2. Risk assessments have not considered the impact of exposure of multiple chemicals that exert a common toxic effect.
3. Typical risk assessment practices have not done a good job of incorporating children''s unique exposures or differential susceptibility - though risk assessments of late have significantly improved consideration of children''s greater exposure.
4. Risk assessments rarely consider a chemical''s environmental persistence and bioaccumulation potential - arguably among the most important characteristics when evaluating long-term risk.
These weaknesses could, in theory, be fixed to varying degrees but not without tremendous effort; the end result would be more complicated risk assessments that require more time to complete.
|Record #20, revised 1/3/2001|
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