Risk assessment and risk management have become central tools in continued efforts to improve public safety and the environment within the limited resources available. This course introduces the basic concepts of environmental risk assessment, relative risk analysis, and risk perception, including identifying and quantifying human health impacts and evaluating ecological risk. The course describes legislative and regulatory initiatives that are attempting to base decisions on risk assessment, along with the controversy that surrounds such approaches. It also addresses specific federal requirements for risk analysis by industry. The course discusses the realities of using risk assessments in risk management decisions, including the need to balance costs and benefits of risk reduction, issues of environmental equity, accounting for the uncertainties in risk estimates, effective risk communication, and acceptable risk.
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