Assessing risk in the aggregate, cumulatively, and comparatively has entered a new era in which innovative technologies and methods are allowing health science professionals to explore and solve ever more complex problems. 1,2,3 Increasingly, risk assessments either support or are mandated by regulatory, management, business, and public policy decision making. They also support technical and lay educational efforts and behavior-based safety programs. Since the inception of our profession, industrial hygienists have been front and center in characterizing hazards and assessing exposures, which predates the four-step risk assessment paradigm articulated by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in its 1983 "Red Book": hazard assessment, exposure assessment, dose-response assessment, and risk characterization. Many industrial hygienists have also participated in more recent initiatives, such as resource allocation, enterprise risk management, sustainability, and cost-benefIt analysis.
Fred W. Boeller, CIH, PE, BCEE, Environ Internationa, Chicago, IL