Risk Analysis: Is EPA Changing the Rules?

by Allen Morrison, Asst. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1982, Vol. 52, Issue 10, Pg. 60-63

Document Type: Feature article


Recent actions by EPA seem to indicate a departure from past practices in health risk assessment. In the past, findings that a substance is an animal carcinogen have usually led to regulatory action to control its environmental exposure. But in a recent decision on the widely used chemical formaldehyde, EPA said that proof of the chemical's carcinogenicity in animals was inadequate to support a decision to move quickly to control its use. This and other actions have led to widespread criticism of the agency by members of the scientific community. This article discusses the formaldehyde controversy and surveys the implications of EPA's actions for future risk assessment policy. Some of the generally accepted principles of risk assessment are reviewed.

Subject Headings: Risk management | Health hazards | Environmental Protection Agency | Animals | Chemicals | Aging (material) | Geomatic surveys

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