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Evaluation of sources of uncertainty in risk assessments conducted for the US Army using a case study approach

Authors

  • Katherine von Stackelberg,

    Corresponding author
    1. Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health, 401 Park Drive, PO Box 15677, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
    2. Exponent, Inc., 8 Winchester Place, Winchester, Massachusetts 01890, USA
    • Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health, 401 Park Drive, PO Box 15677, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
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  • Donna Vorhees,

    1. The Science Collaborative, 18 East Street, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938, USA
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  • Dwayne Moore,

    1. Cantox Environmental, 1550A Laperriere Avenue, Suite 103, Ottawa, Ontario K1Z7T2, Canada
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  • Jerome Cura,

    1. The Science Collaborative, 6 Summer Street, Unit 13, Arlington, Massachusetts 02474, USA
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  • Todd Bridges

    1. Engineer Research and Development Center, Waterways Experiment Station, EM-D, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180, USA
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Abstract

We identify, categorize, and score sources of uncertainty in human health and ecological risk assessments conducted for several US Army sites to identify better analytical practices and opportunities for targeted research to improve risk estimates. The reviewed assessments are from reports completed within the past 8 y and were obtained from the US Army Environmental Technical Information Center (ETIC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, USA. Most of the risk assessments incorporated only qualitative uncertainty analysis to demonstrate the conservatism of selected data and predictive models. Food chain transfer (e.g., concentrations of contaminants across trophic levels) dominated quantifiable sources of uncertainty across the risk assessments evaluated. Factors related to dermal exposures ranked high for human health, and effects assessment for ecological endpoints.

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