MIH 527 Module 4 Case

Question # 00001667 Posted By: nancy007 Updated on: 09/27/2013 03:10 PM Due on: 09/28/2013
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Module 4 - Home

Uses and Limitations of Risk Assessment

Modular Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, the student shall be able to satisfy the following outcomes expectations:

  • Case
    • Examine the limitations of using models (validated and unvalidated) to assess exposure as it applies to risk assessment
  • SLP
    • Identify and analyze risk-management options for a project based on a risk assessment
  • TD
    • Explore factors that determine the need for a risk assessment
Explain the problems associated with assessing risk from exposure to trace chemicals. (TD)

Uses and Limitations of Risk Assessment

In this module we will discuss some of the limitations of risk assessments based on toxicity assessments, exposure assessments, and ecological risk assessments.

  • Toxicity assessments -- Any risk management decision based on toxicity assessments must be very carefully considered for the following reasons. Most human toxicity and exposure studies are usually extrapolated from a few studies of a population's exposure to a contaminated source. The studies are usually not controlled and exposure data is commonly collected after exposure has occurred. In other cases, exposure measures and effects are based on workers in the workplace who have been exposed accidentally to very high levels of a specific chemical. The most common source of data used in toxicity assessments, however, is derived from toxicity test with laboratory animals. These results then are extrapolated to humans. Rarely is there an opportunity to accurately measure the chemical exposure on a sufficiently large population to make a reliable toxicity assessment.
  • Exposure assessments -- Exposure assessments are based on measurements in the field and/or are calculated from models. Assumptions are associated with both sources. The more complex the exposure assessment and the greater the number of assumptions, the less value should be placed on it by risk management decision makers. The Risk Characterization, which is the final step of the risk assessment, should discuss uncertainty in the risk assessment to include that associated with assumption. Simple exposure methods should be considered before the more complex exposure methods. In addition, due to statutory requirements many risk assessments have estimated risks for a hypothetical, nonexistent "maximally exposed individual" (MEI) and have failed to obtain information about the frequency, duration, and magnitude of actual population exposures. The challenge for those conducting exposure assessments is to develop an acceptable and credible exposure assessment for a population that by definition is exposed to a multitude of chemicals and other environmental stressors that may be more significant than the problem exposure. This is why it is so important that the problem is defined within the proper context.

  • Ecological risk assessments -- One problem with ecological risk assessments is that they have no commonly accepted starting point. In addition, many ecological risk assessments are actually ecological risk case studies. Ecological risk assessments usually consist of two different parts of the study. The first part is a characterization of exposure followed by, the second part, which is a characterization of ecological effects. Another problem with ecological risk assessments is that there is very little standardization among them.

As you review the background material for this module try to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each method of assessment.

Examining Options

There are many options to consider that have the potential to reduce risk associated with a problem. Their outcome can range from accepting all risk (i.e., doing nothing) to mitigating risk to some acceptable level to completely eliminating risk. Some of these options are as follows:

  • Limiting pollutant emissions;
  • Taxing industry;
  • Reducing or eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals;
  • Recycling;
  • Using recycled materials;
  • Establishing market incentives;
  • Removing or eliminating the source of the risk.

There are other options that may be considered; however, the process of identifying all viable options and assessing each options' cost and benefits will be strengthened by assuring that all stakeholders are involved in the process.

Another aspect of analyzing options is the process of or the manner in which the feasibility of the various options are considered. This is where the technological, legal, political, and economic considerations play an important role.

Module 4 - Case

Uses and Limitations of Risk Assessment

Understanding the Limitations in Risk Assessment

A prominent group of citizens approach you to discuss the new uses and limitations of risk assessments for risk management decision making. They expressed to you their concern that the State's decision makers (State Senate and Assembly) were overly impressed with scientific studies and refused to see its limitations. Specifically, they were concerned that exposure assessments were based on invalidated mathematical models which used too many assumptions about population's exposure. Write a 3-5+ page paper in which you respond to the following questions:

  1. How would you respond to the citizens concerns?

  2. Should all exposure assessments be based only on validated models? (Support your response with appropriate references.)

  3. How would you determine if the assumptions made about the population's exposure are valid?

Be sure to justify your opinions with evidence from the literature. Your answer should be supported by references and the references should be cited in the body of your discussion as well as in a reference list.

Case Assignment Expectations

Length: Case Assignment Module assignments should be at least 3-5+ pages (600-1200 words) in length.

References: At least three references should be included from academic sources (e.g. peer-reviewed journal articles). Required readings are included. Quoted material should not exceed 10% of the total paper (since the focus of these assignments is critical thinking). Use your own words and build on the ideas of others. When material is copied verbatim from external sources, it MUST be enclosed in quotes. The references should be cited within the text and also listed at the end of the assignment in the References section (preferably in APA format).

Organization: Subheadings should be used to organize your paper according to question

Format: APA format is recommended (but not required) for this assignment. See Syllabus page for more information on APA format.

Grammar and Spelling: While no points are deducted, assignments are expected to adhere to standards guidelines of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence syntax. Points may be deducted if grammar and spelling impact clarity.

The following items will be assessed in particular:

  • Relevance (e.g. all content is connected to the question)
  • Precision (e.g. specific question is addressed. Statements, facts, and statistics are specific and accurate).
  • Depth of discussion (e.g. present and integrate points that lead to deeper issues)
  • Breadth (e.g. multiple perspectives and references, multiple issues/factors considered)
  • Evidence (e.g. points are well-supported with facts, statistics and references)
  • Logic (e.g. presented discussion makes sense, conclusions are logically supported by premises, statements, or factual information)
  • Clarity (e.g. writing is concise, understandable, and contains sufficient detail or examples)
  • Objectivity (e.g. avoid use of first person and subjective bias)
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Tutorials for this Question
  1. Tutorial # 00001498 Posted By: spqr Posted on: 09/27/2013 03:11 PM
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