The Water in Weberville
Assessing the Risks to Human Health
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering
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.
- 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.
Keywordsrisk assessment; human health risk assessment; drinking water; contamination; environmental contamination; trichloroethylene; TCE; EPA
Topical AreasRegulatory issues
Educational LevelUndergraduate upper division, Graduate
Type / MethodsAnalysis (Issues), Directed
Subject HeadingsEnvironmental Science | Public Health | Environmental Engineering | Toxicology |