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.
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