Uncertainties in human health risk assessment of environmental contaminants: A review and perspective

Environment International. 2015;85:120-132

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Environment International

ISSN: 0160-4120 (Print)

Publisher: Elsevier

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Environmental sciences

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS

Zhaomin Dong (The Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia)
Yanju Liu (The Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia)
Luchun Duan (The Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia)
Dawit Bekele (The Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia)
Ravi Naidu (Corresponding author.; The Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia; Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Addressing uncertainties in human health risk assessment is a critical issue when evaluating the effects of contaminants on public health. A range of uncertainties exist through the source-to-outcome continuum, including exposure assessment, hazard and risk characterisation. While various strategies have been applied to characterising uncertainty, classical approaches largely rely on how to maximise the available resources. Expert judgement, defaults and tools for characterising quantitative uncertainty attempt to fill the gap between data and regulation requirements. The experiences of researching 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) illustrated uncertainty sources and how to maximise available information to determine uncertainties, and thereby provide an ‘adequate’ protection to contaminant exposure. As regulatory requirements and recurring issues increase, the assessment of complex scenarios involving a large number of chemicals requires more sophisticated tools. Recent advances in exposure and toxicology science provide a large data set for environmental contaminants and public health. In particular, biomonitoring information, in vitro data streams and computational toxicology are the crucial factors in the NexGen risk assessment, as well as uncertainties minimisation. Although in this review we cannot yet predict how the exposure science and modern toxicology will develop in the long-term, current techniques from emerging science can be integrated to improve decision-making. Keywords: Uncertainties, Exposure, Hazard, Human health risk assessment, Modelling