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Risk Assessment for Environmental Chemicals

  1. David E. Burmaster,
  2. Jeanne C. Willson

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0470011815.b2a00005

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

How to Cite

Burmaster, D. E. and Willson, J. C. 2005. Risk Assessment for Environmental Chemicals. Encyclopedia of Biostatistics. 7.

Author Information

  1. Alceon Corporation, Cambridge, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Probabilistic methods are increasingly used in risk assessment, to represent uncertainty and known variability in factors such as exposure and toxicity. Risk assessment follows a five-step process involving hazard identification, dose-response assessment (with the development of reference doses and cancer slope factors), exposure assessment (with consideration of exposure pathways and dose estimation), risk characterization, and the analysis of variability and uncertainty. The distinction between assessment and management is discussed.


  • dose-response;
  • reference dose;
  • cancer slope factor;
  • toxicity;
  • hazard index