The US EPA health risk assessment method is currently widely used to assess human health risks for many environmental constituents. It is used for risk assessment from the exposure to various contaminants exceeding tolerable or safe reference doses, determined e.g., for drinking water, soil, air and food. It accepts widely that excess contents of non-essential elements (e.g., As, Pb or Sb) in environmental compartments represent a general risk to human health. However, contrary to toxic trace elements, deficient contents of essential (biogenic) elements e.g., F, I, Se, Zn, Fe, Ca or Mg may represent even higher health risk. Therefore, we propose to extend the human health risk assessment by calculating the health risk for deficient content and intake of essential elements, and to introduce the terms Average Daily Missing Dose (ADMD), Average Daily Required Dose (ADRD) and Average Daily Accepted Dose (ADAD). We propose the following equation to calculate the Hazard Quotient (HQ) of health risk from deficient elements: HQd
= ADRD/ADAD. At present, there are no reference concentrations or doses of essential elements in each environmental compartment in world databases (Integrated Risk Information System IRIS, The Risk Assessment Information System RAIS). ADRD and ADMD can be derived from different regulatory standards or guidelines (if they exist) or calculated from actual regional data on the state of population health and content of essential elements in the environment, e.g., in groundwater or soil. This methodology was elaborated and tested on inhabitants of the Slovak Republic supplied with soft drinking water with an average Mg content of 5.66 mg·L−1
. The calculated ADMD of Mg for these inhabitants is 0.314 mg·kg−1
is equal to 2.94, indicating medium risk of chronic diseases. This method extending traditional health risk assessment is the first attempt to quantify deficient content of essential elements in drinking water. It still has some limitations but also has potential to be further developed and refined through its testing in other countries.
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