This course will provide an overview of the fundamentals of human health risk assessment of chemical pollution in the urban environment. Students will develop a critical understanding of the steps of risk assessment (hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization) through a series of examples and applied problems. Examples will include health risks for residential communities surrounding point-source polluters (e.g., industrial facilities) or contaminated sites, as well as risks from non-point source exposures, such as ambient air pollution and drinking water contamination. Quantitative methods for assessing risk will be taught, following guidance from the US EPA and utilizing software tools. The course will emphasize identification of data sources for use in risk calculations and interpretation of risk analysis results, including characterization of risk variability and robust discussion of the uncertainties. We will also examine how quantitative assessment of risk can inform regulation for protection of human health from urban pollution.
After completing this course, participants will be able to:
- Specify quantitative methods for assessing risk from environmental chemical pollution; accurately explain results, both verbally and in writing.
- Estimate dose-response and exposure based on published data, for use in risk calculations.
- Identify key areas of uncertainty in risk predictions and understand methods to address such uncertainty.
- Describe factors that affect susceptibility to health effects from environmental pollution and approaches to characterize variability as part of a risk analysis.
Prerequisite knowledge: Basic knowledge of statistics or biostatistics is required; participants are expected to have completed at least one university-level course.
Technical requirements: Participants will need access to Microsoft Excel, R, and US EPA Benchmark Dose Software (BMDS) for the course. R and BMDS free software will be available for participants to install on their computers.
Continuing Education Credits*: 1.5 CEU or 15 CPH