Aim of the course
The course will enable the participants to deal with
major aspects and methodologies of environmental and human health risk
assessment, which is an effective tool for setting standards, setting
priorities and providing assistance in decision making. In this regard the
course should develop such skills as:
- Systems analysis capability which could be used for scenario
- Technical experience that can be used to quantify hazards and
- Statistical and computer modelling skills that can be applied to
uncertainty analysis, and
- Expertise that can be used to quantify the costs or benefits
associated with assessing priorities.
Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum
The means by which risk is managed and communicated to
the public and consequences of failing to undertake adequate risk
assessment need to be known by environmental practitioners. That is why
this course is of major importance for students enrolled at the Master of
Sciences in Environmental Protection Program which commenced recently at
the State University of Moldova, Department of Industrial and Ecological
Lectures and discussions, investigation of case studies,
using of computer teaching programs, performing of group assignments using
computer data bases and modelling programs. Posing and answering questions
by students will be strongly encouraged.
The unit will consist of 9 lectures (18 academic hours)
and 3 seminars (12 academic hours).
Purposes of risk analysis. Lecture describes
the use of risk analysis for determining environmental and health
problems, determining the effectiveness of different control
techniques designed to reduce risk, selecting sites for potentially
hazardous facilities, setting management priorities. Further on, the
components of risk assessment are discussed. Hazard vs. Risk. In
this phase the question to be answered is : Does a hazard exist? The
lecture introduces such techniques as epidemiological studies, in
vivo animal bioassays, short-term in vitro cell and
tissue culture tests, and structure activity relationships
Chemicals in the environment. The purpose of
the lecture is to discuss the relationship between the presence of
chemical in the environment and the exposure. Topics to be described
are as follows: chemical identity; environmental media; chemical
concentration in an environmental medium: the role of chemical
concentration in risk; measured data, use of models and predicted
data as methods to express the concentration of chemicals; using
data on environmental concentrations.
Chemical hazard information. Types of chemical
hazard. The quantitative and qualitative differences between two
general classes of toxic hazard and expressing non-cancer toxic
hazards and expressing carcinogenic hazards are the main objectives
of the lecture.
Sources of risk assessment data. Using chemical
hazard data. Application of the computer aid software package
"Comparative risk assessment" from Pardue University as teaching
tool. Application of this program will give students additional
information on different subjects of risk assessment taught on
Exposure assessment. The purpose of the lecture
is to introduce the techniques used to estimate or directly measure
the quantities or concentrations of risk agents received by
individuals, populations or ecosystems. The ways in which it are
discovered 1) substances that target organisms, species, and
ecosystems are exposed to; 2) how much exposure; 3) in what way, 4)
for how long ; and 5) under what circumstances is the objective of
Exposed populations and scenarios. Population
characteristics, exposure and risk. Variations among populations.
Populations characteristics that affect specific exposure scenarios.
Exposures scenarios – overview. Selecting scenarios for various
contaminated media. Exposure parameters. Dermal
Exposure monitoring. Cross-Media transfer
equations. Volatilisation to shower air. Volatilisation to household
air. Volatilisation Outdoors: Irrigation. Contamination on suspended
particulates (dust). Sediment to air. Uptake by plants. Uptake by
animals. Uptake by fish and shellfish. Chemical properties used in
predicting exposure. Expressing exposure. Combining exposure for
The application of computer software "Risk
assistant". The seminar is meant to familiarise students with
computer software "Risk assistant" which is a powerful, yet easy to
use, set of tools and databases that allows to establish health
risks from chemicals in the environment in particular settings.
Dose response assessment. Lecture will contain
the description of the two main steps of the dose-response
assessment: 1) determining the doze of the risk agent received by
exposed populations and 2) estimating the relationship between
different doses and the magnitude of their adverse effects.
Statistical description of the qualitative relationship between a
dose and its adverse effects.
Synthesising and interpreting risk estimates.
The meaning of risk estimates. Carcinogenic risks. Non-carcinogenic
risks. Risk characterisation. Description of numerical risk
estimates such as individual lifetime risk, population or societal
risk, relative risk, standardised mortality ratio, loss of life
Uncertainty in risk estimates. Exposure
uncertainty. Uncertainty in toxicology. Analysing uncertainty. Risk
from multiple chemicals Risk from multiple exposures. Expression of
uncertainty. Probability distributions. Confidence intervals. Point
estimates. Worst case/best case. Propagation of uncertainties.
Case-study: Waste are grouping 2. Phase I task
data report: Ecological risk assessment and White Oak Creek
Method of assessment
Students will submit individual papers written for the
course and complete a group project.
Risk assessment, human health, environment, risk characterisation,
toxicity assessment, risk management
John J.Cohrssen, Vincent T.Covello, 1989. Risk
Analysis: A Guide to Principles and Methods for Analysing Health and
Environetnal risks. Department of Commercenational Technical
L.W. Barnthouse, & G.W.Sutter, 1986. User’s Manual
for Ecological Risk Assessment. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak
Harte, J. Holdren, C. Schneider, R. Shirley C. 1991. Toxics from A
to Z. A guide to everyday pollution hazards. University of
California Press. Berkeley, Loss Angeles, London.
EPA, OERRW, 1989. Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund. Volume
I: Human Health Evaluation Manual (part A).