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


Related Topics (click for further information)


Related Case Studies

Primary Sources


Related Resources

TO PRINT THIS PAGE Select PRINT under your FILE menu,
or click the PRINT button at the top of your
browser window.

Pollution Probe and Technology and Health Foundation and their funding partners assume no liability or responsibility whatsoever arising from the use of any information found in or accessible from the HealthySchools.com site. All use of this site is subject to our disclaimer. If you have questions about the site please contact us at: email@healthyschools.com.

All contents ©2004 by Pollution Probe and Technology and Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
Database structure, search engine, and dynamic content generation by CMAC Web Design and Small & Rubin Ltd..