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The Water in Weberville

Assessing the Risks to Human Health


Author(s)

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

Educational Level

Undergraduate upper division, Graduate

Format

PDF

Type Methods

Analysis (Issues), Directed

Language

English

Subject Headings

Environmental Science  |   Public Health  |   Environmental Engineering  |   Toxicology  |  


Date Posted

5/30/2017

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