An approach to comparative assessments of potential health risks from exposure to radionuclides and hazardous chemicals

D. C. Kocher, H. Greim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The need to compare potential health risks to the public associated with different activities that can result in releases of hazardous substances to the environment is becoming increasingly important in decision-making. In making such comparisons, it is desirable to use equivalent indicators of potential health risks for radionuclides, chemical carcinogens, and noncarcinogenic hazardous chemicals. Current approaches to risk assessment that were developed for purposes of protecting human health do not provide equivalent indicators of potential risks from exposure to radionuclides and hazardous chemicals. Comparisons of environmental concentrations or calculated exposures or risks with standards for protection of public health also do not provide equivalent indicators of potential risks. We propose a simple approach to comparative risk assessments in which calculated exposures to any hazardous substances are expressed relative to no-observed-effect levels (NOELs) or, preferably, lower confidence limits of benchmark doses (BMDLs) in humans. This approach provides an equivalent, science-based indicator of the relative risks posed by different exposures to any hazardous substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-671
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironment International
Volume27
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Benchmark dose
  • Comparative assessment
  • Health risk assessment
  • NOEL
  • Public exposures

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