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Epidemiology and Environmental Hazards.
NIOSH 1985 May:16 pages
Epidemiology and environmental hazards were discussed, and the principles of risk assessment were discussed. Risk assessment can be regarded as the second step in a chain of public responses to an environmental hazard: hazard identification, risk assessment, exposure assessment, and risk management. Risk assessment involves collecting and evaluating a set of data about a hazard. The evaluation results in adopting and implementing measures designed to control the hazard. It is noted that since a public response to controlling an environmental hazard is in effect an implementation of public policy, risk assessment becomes associated with policy. Although chemical and clinical observations are important in the first step, they do not yield the data required for a quantitative estimate of risk. This must come from epidemiological or laboratory animal studies. Laboratory animal data are not usually sufficiently analogous to human experience for evaluating risk except in the case of carcinogenic agents. Even in the case of carcinogens, extrapolating animal data into human terms requires two large and uncertain inferential steps. Epidemiology is considered to be the best technique for making human risk assessments. Epidemiological methods are designed to measure variations in risk and to identify the human and environmental characteristics that can predict these variations. The results of an epidemiological study, because they provide direct quantifiable data, can be regarded as a risk assessment.
Risk-analysis; Health-hazards; Bioassays; Environmental-hazards; Neoplastic-agents; Laboratory-animals; Disease-control; Humans;
Infectious Diseases; Disease and Injury;
Proceedings of a Symposium on Epidemiology and Health Risk Assessment, Columbia, Maryland, May 14-16, 1985, Centers for Disease Control/NIOSH, 16 pages, 14 references
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division