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U.S. EPA Authority to Use Cumulative Risk Assessments in Environmental Decision-Making
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National Center for Environmental Research, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Code 8723P, Washington, DC 20460, USA
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Received: 17 January 2012; in revised form: 25 April 2012 / Accepted: 26 April 2012 / Published: 25 May 2012
Abstract: Conventionally, in its decision-making, the U.S. EPA has evaluated the effects and risks associated with a single pollutant in a single exposure medium. In reality, people are exposed to mixtures of pollutants or to the same pollutant through a variety of media, including the air, water, and food. It is now more recognized than before that environmental exposure to pollutants occurs via multiple exposure routes and pathways, including inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption. Moreover, chemical, biologic, radiologic, physical, and psychologic stressors are all acknowledged as affecting human health. Although many EPA offices attempt to consider cumulative risk assessment and cumulative effects in various ways, there is no Agency-wide policy for considering these risks and the effects of exposure to these risks when making environmental decisions. This article examines how U.S. courts might assess EPA’s general authority and discretion to use cumulative risk assessment as the basis for developing data in support of environmental decision-making, and how courts might assess the validity of a cumulative risk assessment methodology itself.
Keywords: cumulative effects; cumulative risk; environmental justice; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; statutory authority
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Alves, S.; Tilghman, J.; Rosenbaum, A.; Payne-Sturges, D.C. U.S. EPA Authority to Use Cumulative Risk Assessments in Environmental Decision-Making. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 1997-2019.
Alves S, Tilghman J, Rosenbaum A, Payne-Sturges DC. U.S. EPA Authority to Use Cumulative Risk Assessments in Environmental Decision-Making. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2012; 9(6):1997-2019.
Alves, Sarah; Tilghman, Joan; Rosenbaum, Arlene; Payne-Sturges, Devon C. 2012. "U.S. EPA Authority to Use Cumulative Risk Assessments in Environmental Decision-Making." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 9, no. 6: 1997-2019.