Evaluating the Effectiveness of Risk-Reduction Strategies for Consumer Chemical Products


Donna M. Riley Picker Engineering Program, Smith College, Northampton, MA.


Communication about risks offers a voluntary approach to reducing exposure to pollutants. Its adequacy depends on its impact on behavior. Estimating those impacts first requires characterizing current activities and their associated risk levels, and then predicting the effectiveness of risk-reduction strategies. Characterizing the risks from chemical consumer products requires knowledge of both the physical and the behavioral processes that influence exposures. This article presents an integrated approach that combines consumer interviews, users' beliefs and behaviors, and quantitative exposure modeling. This model was demonstrated in the context of consumer exposure to a methylene chloride-based paint stripper, showing how it could be used to evaluate current levels of risk and predict the effectiveness of proposed voluntary risk-reduction strategies.