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Decisions about remediating contaminated sites are made primarily on the basis of human health risk: defined as the expected frequency of occurrence of an unacceptable health response in a population exposed to hazardous substances. However, current methods of human health evaluation are of little help to those who, not only wish to minimize health risk, but also make a wise economic decision that minimizes current costs and future environmental liability. This paper explores a probabilistic approach to human health risk assessment that generates results in a form that can be used to satisfy both the concerns of regulatory authorities and the concerns of those who seek cost-effective remedies. The approach is illustrated using the results from a demonstration project using data for an existing Superfund site.
economic risk, health risk, risk assessment, contaminated sites, probability, decision making, case history, Bayesian Updating, Monte Carlo, cumulative density function
Associate, Golder Associates Inc., Atlanta, GA