Integrating Uncertainty and Interindividual Variability in Environmental Risk Assessment



An integrated, quantitative approach to incorporating both uncertainty and interindividual variability into risk prediction models is described. Individual risk R is treated as a variable distributed in both an uncertainty dimension and a variability dimension, whereas population risk I (the number of additional cases caused by R) is purely uncertain. I is shown to follow a compound Poisson-binomial distribution, which in low-level risk contexts can often be approximated well by a corresponding compound Poisson distribution. The proposed analytic framework is illustrated with an application’to cancer risk assessment for a California population exposed to 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane from ground water.