risk assessment questions related to the types of data, mentioned the application of risk assessment to nutritional risk, and identified topics for future efforts.

The Focus of Risk Assessment

According to Rodricks, two major questions are the focus of risk assessment:

  1. What is the probability (preferably expressed quantitatively) that adverse health effects will occur in individuals exposed to an agent (whether it is a chemical, biological, or physical agent) or activity?

  2. Under what conditions of exposure to an agent or activity are individuals unlikely to incur adverse health effects?

The use of risk management activities for risk assessment is inappropriate. Risk management activities include the identification of when risks become excessive or intolerable, the factors that should be considered in making decisions to reduce risks, and the means that should be used to reduce or manage risks.

The Risk Assessment Process

The process of risk assessment, which underwent its first major review by the National Research Council in 1983 (NRC, 1983), is a process that is still evolving. Figure 2-1 depicts the risk assessment process and features the key role of the decision-making context in designing a risk assessment.

Many years of experience have demonstrated that preservation of the integrity of the process requires the following:

  • delineation of the problem to be addressed (the decision to be made),

  • mechanisms to ensure interactive dialogues among all parties involved in risk assessment,

  • clear identification of the questions to be addressed by risk assessment,



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