Vol. 22, No.3, May 2000
2000, Vol. 22
No. 3 (May)
..Chemistry in Slovenia
..News from IUPAC
..Reports from Symposia
..Letter to the Editor
..Reports from Commissions
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Vol. 22, No. 3
Books and Publications
New Book from
the World Health Organization
Principles for the Assessment of Risks to Human
Health from Exposure to Chemicals, Environmental Health Criteria No.
1999, xx + 110 pages (English with summaries in French
and Spanish), ISBN 92-4-157210-8, CHF 29.-/ USD 26.10; In developing
countries: CHF 20.30, Order No. 1160210. WHO Marketing and Dissemination,
CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland; E-mail: [email protected]
Tel.: +41 22 791 24 76; Fax: +41 22 791 48 57.
This book provides a state-of-the-art review of
methods and procedures for assessing the risks to human health posed
by environmental chemicals. Addressed to regulatory authorities, risk
managers, and other decision- makers, the book aims to demystify the
principles of risk assessment and thus to encourage wider use of this
powerful tool for protecting populations. Because the detection of
chemical hazards may have socioeconomic and political consequences,
the book gives particular attention to methods for the accurate identification
of risks and determination of their severity. Details range from an
alert to sources of uncertainty in scientific evidence, through an
explanation of the distinction between individual and population risks,
to a list of questions commonly addressed during risk characterization.
Practical advice on various options for risk elimination or reduction
is also provided in this comprehensive guide.
The book has four chapters covering each logical
step in the process of risk assessment. The first, on hazard identification,
explains how data on a chemicals toxicity and mode of action
can be used to determine whether the chemical will cause adverse effects
on health. The strengths and limitations of different types of data
are discussed, together with criteria commonly used to establish causality.
Methods for assessing dose-response relationships are reviewed in
Chapter 2, which explains how to characterize the relationship between
the dose administered or received and the incidence of an adverse
effect. Methods for assessing non-neoplastic, or threshold, effects
and neoplastic, nonthreshold effects are described in detail.
Exposure assessment is covered in the next chapter,
which describes methods for determining the nature and extent of contact
with chemical substances and discusses the special characteristics
of exposure in the general environment, in the workplace, and from
consumer products. The final chapter explains the procedure of risk
characterization as a decision-making tool that brings together estimates
of exposure levels and risks and summarizes sources of uncertainty
in the scientific data. Practical options for risk management are
presented as a range of regulatory, nonregulatory, economic, advisory,
and technological measures.