Living organisms interact regularly with chemical and microbial agents in our environment, in our food, and in the products we use everyday. Risk assessment seeks to understand the body or ecosystem's response to those interactions, with the goal of identifying adverse effects, and quantitatively estimating levels of exposure that are unlikely to produce negative consequences.

Ultimately, the risk assessment determines the magnitude of a specific risk so that decision makers (risk managers) can conclude whether the potential hazard is sufficiently great that it needs to be managed or regulated, reduced, or removed. (EPA)

Teaching Resources

Powerpoint Presentation on Risk Assessment

Age of Risk Management by Kimberly M Thompson ScD

External Links

European, Asian, and International Agencies

Non-Governmental Agencies


United States Environemtnal Protection Agency (EPA). Risk Assessment Portal.

A Guide to Health Risk Assessment. California Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Available as a pdf file. Online. (accessed: 10 April 2003).

The Precautionary Principle In Action a Handbook. Science and Environmental health Network, Joel Tickner, Carolyn Raffensperger, and Nancy Myers. Online. (accessed: 10 April 2003).

TOXNET. Online. Accessed 04 April 2007. Contains a number of searchable Toxicology databases including the Hazardous Substance Database (HSDB), Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), Chemical carcinogen Research Information System (CCRIS), Toxicology Literature search (TOXLINE), Data on mutagenicity studies (GENE-TOX) Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity/Environmental Teratology Information Center (DART/ETIC), Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), ChemIDPlus - a dictionary of 370,000 chemicals, structures and chemical properties)

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Online. (Accessed 04 April 2007). IARC posts monographs that evaluate the potential carcinogenicity of environmentally relevant chemicals. National health agencies use this information as scientific support for their actions to prevent exposure to potential carcinogens.