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The Water in Weberville

Assessing the Risks to Human Health



Author:

Michelle M. Homan
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering
Gannon University
homan001@gannon.edu

Abstract:

This case study presents a realistic example of drinking water contamination within a fictional local community and leads students through an abbreviated human health risk assessment. Students are provided background information about the extent of the contamination and a description of the contaminated site and are then required to calculate both the cancer and non-cancer risks to the community. This exercise is appropriate for an environmental toxicology or environmental risk assessment course. It works well after a lecture on the basics of risk assessment including how to calculate exposure intakes and risk estimates.

Objectives:
  • Identify and list potential exposure routes given the specifics of an environmental contamination scenario.
  • Identify and list potentially exposed populations given the specifics of an environmental contamination scenario.
  • Know where and how to find chemical toxicity values.
  • Know how to calculate intake values for a specific exposure scenario.
  • Calculate cancer and non-cancer risk estimates for exposure through contaminated drinking water.
  • Interpret the values of the estimated cancer and non-cancer risks and compare them to EPA guidelines.
  • List the sources of uncertainty in risk calculations.
Keywords: risk assessment; human health risk assessment; drinking water; contamination; environmental contamination; trichloroethylene; TCE; EPA
Topical Area: Regulatory issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate upper division, Graduate
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Analysis (Issues), Directed
Language: English
Subject Headings: Environmental Science   Public Health   Environmental Engineering   Toxicology  
Date Posted: 5/30/2017
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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