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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Preface

Preface

The aim of the book is to give an overview of the methods for, and application of, environmental risk assessment in the European Union. It is not a technical "how to" guide but examines the basic concepts applicable to all environmental risk assessments including human health risk assessments, ecological risk assessments and industrial applications of risk assessment. Existing knowledge and research in this field is vast and the book aims to identify unifying concepts, discuss currently used methodologies, examine their application and give examples of risk assessment in practice, and guide the user to information sources relevant to their needs.

The book consists of an introductory text (Part I) and an information source-book (Part II). The first section of the text (Chapters 1-4) introduces the concepts of risk assessment, summarising its role as an environmental management tool and the methodologies currently being used. This section is targeted towards a wide, general audience. The information should be useful for individuals in government, NGOs, as well as semi-experts, students and the public interested in environmental management. The second section (Chapters 5-7) provides details of two general methodologies used primarily in a regulatory capacity (health risk assessment and ecological risk assessment) and the application of environmental risk assessment in industry (primarily site-specific application of health and/or ecological risk assessment). Chapters 5 and 6 are targeted at semi-experts in local government, industry, interest groups or the general public requiring information on how risk assessments used to protect human health and the environment are derived, the methods used, and the constraints and limitations of each. The chapters will also prove interesting to NGOs and students. Chapter 7 is primarily targeted towards small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide them with a background knowledge of risk assessment processes being carried out by major industrial organisations and to provide information on how this environmental management tool can be used to benefit industry. Certain parts of the text target particular industrial sectors such as off-shore, contaminated land and waste management. Much of the chapter will also be of interest to the general public and interest groups. The third section (Chapters 8 and 9) is devoted to risk management and evaluation (Chapter 8) and future policy and development directions (Chapter 9) for risk assessment. Chapter 8 includes the examination of the important trade-off between perceived risks and benefits in evaluation. Chapter 9 examines current thoughts on the problems of risk assessment and the proposed solutions. It also looks at possible future policy moves in ERA. This section is relevant to those decision-makers contemplating risk-based decisions and needing an introduction to evaluation and management principles, and a wide audience interested in the sociological aspects of the risk management process and the problems associated with risk assessment and management which need addressing.

Part II of the book is an information sources directory comprised of seven sections:

  1. Organisations; information on international, EU and national organisations involved in a broad range of work on environmental risk assessment.
  2. Databases; information on databases providing data which can be used in the environmental risk assessment process such as toxicological data on chemicals and information used in food safety and industrial site-specific risk assessments.
  3. Software Models; information on a wide range of risk assessment software models available.
  4. Publications; bibliographic lists of books and journals covering all aspects of risk assessment and management, and a list of bibliographic databases available in the EU.
  5. Directories; lists of directories of environmental consultants available in the EU and sources relevant information.
  6. Web Sites; information on web sites providing material relevant to environmental risk assessment.
  7. Legislation; European legislation relevant to environmental risk assessment.

Part I of the book provides an introduction or a "taste" of the subject area, Part II provides comprehensive sources of specific, further information for each area covered in the text. It is a guide to "what is out there" on environmental risk assessment.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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