A Look at State-Level Risk Assessment in the United States: Making Decisions in the Absence of Federal Risk Values


Oliver Kroner, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, 2300 Montana Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45211, USA; kroner@tera.org


State environmental agencies in the United States are charged with making risk management decisions that protect public health and the environment while managing limited technical, financial, and human resources. Meanwhile, the federal risk assessment community that provides risk assessment guidance to state agencies is challenged by the rapid growth of the global chemical inventory. When chemical toxicity profiles are unavailable on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System or other federal resources, each state agency must act independently to identify and select appropriate chemical risk values for application in human health risk assessment. This practice can lead to broad interstate variation in the toxicity values selected for any one chemical. Within this context, this article describes the decision-making process and resources used by the federal government and individual U.S. states. The risk management of trichloroethylene (TCE) in the United States is presented as a case study to demonstrate the need for a collaborative approach among U.S. states toward identification and selection of chemical risk values while awaiting federal risk values to be set. The regulatory experience with TCE is contrasted with collaborative risk science models, such as the European Union's efforts in risk assessment harmonization. Finally, we introduce State Environmental Agency Risk Collaboration for Harmonization, a free online interactive tool designed to help to create a collaborative network among state agencies to provide a vehicle for efficiently sharing information and resources, and for the advancement of harmonization in risk values used among U.S. states when federal guidance is unavailable.