Section II: Techniques and Methods
This section provides a detailed breakdown of:
- typologies (defined in Chapter 3) developed under the general methodology of human health risk assessment.
- methodologies developed or being developed for ecological risk assessment, in general generated from the human health approach.
- methods developed specifically for industrial risk scenarios which may incorporate elements of either, or both, human health or ecological risk assessment.
The objective is to provide the reader with a sound knowledge of the principles of each method, the stages or steps involved in each, examples of their use and the problems associated with each. It is essentially a resumé of the environmental risk assessment methods in use or being developed. This section deals with the technical details of the process, some of which are complex in nature and require a certain degree of scientific and technical understanding from the reader. However, the text is, again, pitched at a level to be understood by a reasonably wide audience. It is not targeted towards experts in the respective fields of risk assessment.
Chapter 5 details the risk assessment methods which have been developed to protect human health from damage by physical, chemical and biological agents in the environment. The chapter centres around chemical risks which reflects the current degree of knowledge, experience and concern about such agents in the environment and the potential for human exposure. The typologies based on end-point are dealt with in detail for the risk assessment of chemicals such as neurotoxic risk assessment. Risk assessment techniques used to protect humans from ionising radiation, pathogens and genetically modified organisms are also described.
Chapter 6 looks at the risk assessment techniques in use and under development to protect ecosystems, or the environment, excluding humans. The agents considered include chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified organisms. The method developed for the regulation of new and existing substances is highlighted and also the generation of a methodology for ecological risk assessment from the human health approach, with all the associated problems and difficulties.
Chapter 7 covers the application of environmental risk assessment in industry. The objective is to provide an overview of the variety of techniques used to assess risks to the environment (ecosystems and humans) arising from particular industrial scenarios such as non-routine releases, routine releases, contaminated land and waste disposal.
To illustrate the methods and concepts discussed in each chapter, many practical examples are provided.
This section is targeted towards some government officers, policy makers, regulators and local planners, who do not need to be experts in risk assessment but require a sufficient understanding of the environmental management tool to ensure it is fully utilised. Chapter 7 will prove particularly useful to SMEs as it describes the role that risk assessment is playing in large industrial companies. Its use could provide substantial benefits to SMEs and indeed, in the future, they may be required to use it by legislation. It will also prove interesting to the general public who wish to be informed of the measures and tools which are used to protect them and the "environment" and, of course, to students of the subject of environmental management.
The information provided is intended as an introduction to environmental risk assessment as an environmental management tool. Part II of this book (Information Sources) guides the reader to a vast range of information available on the specific details of each of the methods outlined in this section.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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