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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 310904, 36 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/310904
Review Article

Cumulative Risk Assessment Toolbox: Methods and Approaches for the Practitioner

1Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439, USA
2ENVIRON International Corporation, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA
3US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
4Biomathematics Consulting and Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
5Synergy Toxicology, Boerne, TX 78006, USA
6Baker Hughes, Tulsa, OK 74107, USA
7ToxStrategies, Austin, TX 78759, USA
8TEAM Integrated Engineering, Inc., San Antonio, TX 78216, USA

Received 27 September 2012; Accepted 13 November 2012

Academic Editor: Orish Ebere Orisakwe

Copyright © 2013 Margaret M. MacDonell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The historical approach to assessing health risks of environmental chemicals has been to evaluate them one at a time. In fact, we are exposed every day to a wide variety of chemicals and are increasingly aware of potential health implications. Although considerable progress has been made in the science underlying risk assessments for real-world exposures, implementation has lagged because many practitioners are unaware of methods and tools available to support these analyses. To address this issue, the US Environmental Protection Agency developed a toolbox of cumulative risk resources for contaminated sites, as part of a resource document that was published in 2007. This paper highlights information for nearly 80 resources from the toolbox and provides selected updates, with practical notes for cumulative risk applications. Resources are organized according to the main elements of the assessment process: (1) planning, scoping, and problem formulation; (2) environmental fate and transport; (3) exposure analysis extending to human factors; (4) toxicity analysis; and (5) risk and uncertainty characterization, including presentation of results. In addition to providing online access, plans for the toolbox include addressing nonchemical stressors and applications beyond contaminated sites and further strengthening resource accessibility to support evolving analyses for cumulative risk and sustainable communities.