Risk assessment is a multidisciplinary scientific process used to assemble, critique and interpret the pertinent scientific information regarding a substance to determine its potential risk to human health and the environment. 

 

Our scientists draw upon a variety of necessary disciplines and a wealth of experience to address the complex, multilayered aspects of exposure. Our team has pioneered and popularized many of the risk assessment approaches used and continues to innovate for success. Risk assessment is often used to predict the potential impact of various exposure scenarios. The process weighs a number of scientific, regulatory, societal and cost factors and requires extensive data collection and complex calculations – all services that Cardno ChemRisk provides to clients.

Project Example: Comparative Chemical and Physical Risk Assessment for Two Remedial Alternatives

Project Overview: Cardno ChemRisk was approached to evaluate a former pesticide manufacturing Superfund site in northern New Jersey that had dioxin-contaminated soils. There was public concern that the completed on-site containment remedy would be less effective than an excavation/off-site incineration remedy and the USEPA was considering whether to change the existing remedy during the scheduled two-year review of the site.

Our Approach: Cardno ChemRisk performed a screening-level comparative risk assessment for the two remedial alternatives: an on-site containment alternative and an excavation/off-site incineration alternative. Human health and ecological risks were considered. The assessment showed that the risks from an excavation/off-site incineration remedy were 10 times greater than those associated with on-site containment, and also resulted in more dispersed risk. Notably, the risk of an accident or fatality while contaminated materials were being transported for excavation/off-site incineration remedy was 1,000 times higher than the on-site containment remedy.

Our Value: The USEPA Region 2 subsequently chose not to re-evaluate the remedy and continued with the onsite containment remedy, ensuring a sustainable solution. In addition, the approach and results were published in a peer-reviewed manuscript, which improved transparency and could be used to inform similar efforts in the future.