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PUN016 Risk Assessment
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This report is based on the environmental health risk assessment. The major focus of this report is on the environmental health hazard that causes an adverse health event. It includes physical, biological, and chemical factors that are external to an individual. It has been identified that hazards problem can be natural or human-made. There are several examples of environmental risks that have been identified such as climate change, land-use patterns, radian, pollution, noise, and so on that affect human health all over the world. The population is the focus of the environmental issues that are going through the adverse impacts of environmental hazards. According to analysis, environmental risks are a threat to human health as well as the surroundings all over the world. Several issues have been identified with the help of the given case study such as society's concern over emissions, the development of new standards for water quality, changes to food standards, and so on.
In this report, the issues will be identified related to the environmental health hazard. To analyze those issues, the risk assessment methods and techniques will be applied while identifying the uncertainties and data gaps with the help of the given case study.
Hazard Assessment (Identification of issues)
There are several issues related to the environment that has an adverse impact on human health as well as the surrounding which is very harmful to the other living beings also. The issue that has been identified with the help of the given case study include:
Water pollution and poor water quality: This is one of the major issues that need to be considered by the government as it affects human health majorly. As per the analysis, it has been identified that 80% of the world's wastewater is dumped which is largely untreated and back into the environment. This has caused pollution of rivers, oceans, and lakes that impacts public health as a whole (Zhao, et al., 2022). It has been identified that improper hazardous waste storage pollutes surface waste & groundwater supplies as harmful water pollution. This is also the source of dangerous land pollution. Hazardous waste is a major problem to the environment that impacts human health as well as surroundings. The hazardous waste impacts human health in terms of headache, nausea, irritating the skin or eyes, and difficulty breathing. In terms of harmful waste, there are three environmental problems associated with this such as air pollution, climate change, and water & soil contamination (Yuan and Jun 2021).
Environmental health hazards increase the risk of heart disease, asthma, cancer, and other illness. It has other physical hazards such as toxic chemicals, pollution, contaminants, dangerous work, poor housing conditions, poverty, and urban sprawl. Some environmental risk factors for disease such as weather conditions, lack of access to health care, radiation, poverty, pollution, and microbes in the air, soil, or water. According to the analysis, it has been identified that air pollution has been damaging every organ in the human body. It has been identified that air pollution has long-term effects on the human health body and it damages people's brain, kidneys, nerves, liver, and other organs (Chen, et al., 2018).
Risk assessment method
With the help of the Leopold matrix, the environmental risk can be assessed to identify the adverse impact on human health. The Leopold matrix is a qualitative environmental impact assessment that was developed by Luna Leopold. This matrix includes some organizational actions such as trucking, blasting, drilling, mineral processing, and rows representing environmental elements such as atmospheric quality and water quality (Yuan and Jun 2021).
A dose-response assessment inspects the qualitative relationships between the consequences of concern & exposure. With the help of the dose-response curve, the data related to the impacts of environmental issues on human health has been properly scaled on the curve that shows the relationship between both of them. Typically administered or applied dose, rather than an effective tissue dose is utilized to create the dose-response relationship. As per the rule, it is identified that the higher the dose, the greater will be the intensity or the frequency of the adverse reaction to such chemical. Often, it is identified that the different effects are observed at low as well as high doses. The methods utilized to extrapolate the relationship of dose-response from high experimental doses applied to relatively few animals utilized in the laboratory studies on the animal to relatively low-dose human exposure anticipated to occur in the environment with the help of ambient media vary and these are also very critical to evaluate the potential risks (Zhao, et al., 2022).
Exposure assessment is one of the critical areas of risk assessment that enables the identification of the complexity of the EHRA process. There are several approaches to exposure assessment that can be used to identify to identify the factors of environmental risk. The exposure assessment requires the determination of the frequency, magnitude, character as well as duration of the exposures in the present, past as well as future. The exposed populations are also identified along with the potential exposure pathways. There are utilized various environmental monitoring as well as predictive models in order to determine the level of the exposure pathways (Deng, et al., 2018).
The first step in the exposure assessment is to identify the release of chemical agents in the environment. Such chemical agents can be released within the environment through a facility, process, or situation in a different way. The EHRAs may be undertaken in case of water pollution-related risks including the new additives to recreational waters, new as well as existing chemical-related assessments, and pollution impact assessment at the existing facilities as well as the situations where the environmental, as well as guidelines, are not available. In this kind of situation, the chemicals might be released into the water and affect human health through consumption (Chen and Wu, 2018).
The next step is to identify the transport and fate of the chemical agent to the water. If such an agent is to be released into the water or river, then the chemical may flow away and be diluted quite a distance which can be released to the lakes and creeks. If such an agent is released into the groundwater, there are chances that not flow too far. These chemicals can further react with other agents or chemicals like humic acids and can be harmful to the overall environment as well as human health (Goldstein, 2018).
The next step is to identify the exposure pathways for the pollutants in water. The exposure pathways can take the chemical and other agents from one point to the environment through a situation where a person can be exposed to such chemicals. In terms of water, it can be the direct exposure where the water is used for the purpose of drinking and food preparation which is further consumed by the people. In such situations, people are exposed to such chemicals. There are also some of the less obvious pathways for the contaminated groundwater to be exposed to humans in a direct or indirect way (Bonmatin, et al., 2019). Considering the exposure pathway, the chemical or other agent can move from its source to the groundwater. From there, it can be routed to the tap water in the households and through consumption or utilization in food preparation, the humans can be exposed to those chemicals. It can further affect human health to a great extent. Below is presented the exposure pathways for different types of chemicals and agents:
The last step is to identify the potentially exposed population to such chemicals as well as other agents present in the groundwater. In order to potentially pose a risk, it is very important to have an exposed population to such agents or chemicals. Considering the potentially exposed population, the area to which the groundwater is contaminated and exposed to such chemicals is considered the main spot. The people residing in such areas and using such groundwater through taps for the purpose of drinking it and using it for the purpose of cooking can be considered as the potentially exposed population to such risks. The formula for the exposure assessment and calculating the chemical intake is where the “I” refers to the intake of chemicals expressed as mg/kg BW/day.
It is the final step in the risk assessment options. The risk characteristics can be identified by the people while integrating the hazard identification, dose-response assessment, and exposure assessment. It is the last phase of EHRA with its culmination of planning, problem formulation, and analysis of predicted and observed adverse ecological effects. Some principles have been identified in the environmental health such as:
- Human health protection is the primary objective of assessing the environmental impacts that have on living beings.
- The risk assessment must be transparent with linked to the environmental issues. All the things like methods, assumptions, and policy in the risk assessment must be identified by the government.
- The risk characterization needs to include the summary of key problems as well as conclusions of each other components in the risk assessment and the likelihood of the adverse health impacts (Wang, et al., 2020).
- The most up-to-date scientific literature should be utilized for the purpose of relevant risk assessment. The peer-reviewed articles should be given the utmost consideration as compared to the non-peer-reviewed articles.
The risk characteristics can be identified with the help of finding out risk probability, impact, source of risk, and backfire data. While analyzing the hazard assessment and dose curve relationship, it has been identified that some environmental risks can't be controlled by the people but some would be controlled (Tong and Yang, 2018). Like natural disasters causes adverse health issues to the people and also damage the life but the other environmental issues like water, air & noise pollution can be controlled by the government. They can take several actions to maintain environmental sustainability to overcome the challenges with issues environment (Goldstein, 2018).
It is a part of the environmental risk assessment in which the identified issues have been communicated to the shareholders who take care of the environmental problems. All the environmental-related problems are communicated to the people to discuss the strategies to overcome them. With the help of the 5 A's of risk communication like Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange, the environmental risk can be communicated to the stakeholders (Gao, et al., 2018). There are some of the principles to be followed while communicating the risks of water pollution to the general public and potentially affected people which are as follows:
- Accepting as well as involving the public as the key stakeholder or partner.
- Carefully evaluating as well as planning the content and nature of the risk communication to be undertaken to make it more relevant as well as understandable.
- Listening to the particular concerns outlined by the public so that credibility, trust, fairness as well as competence can be maintained.
Uncertainties and data gaps
While identifying the issues of the environment that impacts human health, some uncertainties and data gaps have been identified. The prevalence of polymorphism, the relative contribution of multiple enzyme systems, the large number of low-frequency alleles, the absence of chemical-specific phenotype data, and son can be the result in the data gaps while identifying the environmental issues (Goldstein, 2018).
In the report, the discussion about the water pollution environmental issue is made and the key impacts of such hazards are identified on the human health as well as wellbeing. This report has involved the assessment of risks, characterization as well as risk communication to the general public to identify these potential risks and find the appropriate solutions for them. The exposure assessment was also made in detail to identify the media of transportation of harmful chemicals into the water and the potentially impacted and exposed population
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