Chemistry International
Vol. 22, No.3, May 2000

2000, Vol. 22
No. 3 (May)
..Chemistry in Slovenia
..News from IUPAC
..Reports from Symposia
..New Projects
..New Books
..Letter to the Editor
..Reports from Commissions
..Provisional Recommendations
..Conference Announcements


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Chemistry International
Vol. 22, No. 3
May 2000

New 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. 210

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 chemical’s 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.


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