TABLE 1.

Risk Assessment as Performed by Risk Assessors and Clinicians

Risk Assessment StepQuestions Asked by Risk AssessorQuestions Asked by Clinician
Hazard assessmentWhat are the chemicals of concern, and what kind of harm are they known or suspected to cause? Which chemicals will we focus on?What information do we have about an environmental problem, what chemicals were involved, and what sources of information are there?
Exposure assessmentWhat are the sources and duration of exposures? How many people are exposed? What do our monitoring or modeling data predict about the range of doses in the population?Is there a chance that your child may be coming in contact with (breathing, touching, ingesting, etc) this source? How often and for how long? Is the source highly contaminated or only slightly contaminated?
Dose-response assessmentWhat effects are seen in animals or humans at different exposure levels? What are the doses at which cancerous and noncancerous effects occur? Is there a threshold below which no effect is expected?(Review literature, consult with experts.) How do the levels at which effects have been demonstrated compare with levels in the community? Are these levels higher than regulatory limits?
Risk characterizationGiven the above, what are the human impacts of current exposures? What is the population risk? Are there sensitive subpopulations? How confident are we in this analysis?Are regulations based on effects in the fetus or child? Is there reason to be concerned that children may be at greater risk from exposure to this chemical than adults may?
Risk communicationIs the information relevant to the audience and understandable? Does it respond to public concerns? What are the limitations in this assessment?Have I listened to the concerns presented, responded with compassion, and helped identify information needed and credible sources for obtaining it? What additional steps are needed?