Risk Assessment

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Ricin toxicity Last Updated on 2014-06-26 19:02:52 The Director's Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled basic information about the toxin ricin. You can find more detailed information on the CDC's Ricin Homepage. Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. It can be made in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid. Ricin is very toxic. It works by getting inside the cells of a person's body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need. Without the proteins, cells die. Eventually this is harmful to the whole body, and may cause death. As with most chemicals, whether or not a person becomes ill after exposure to ricin... More »
NIEHS Strategic Planning: Progress Last Updated on 2011-08-12 00:00:00 The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has initiated a Strategic Planning process to set the institute's scientific and governance direction for the next five years (2012-2017). Scientific insights and visionary ideas took center stage at the 12-14 July 2011 Stakeholder Community Workshop. The NIEHS received an outpouring of interest in the workshop—nearly 700 scientists, environmental health advocates, academics, research administrators, policy professionals, and communicators were nominated for participation. Of these, the workshop involved nearly 200 participants. The Workshop's Full Report, Discussion Reports and Priority Topics are available. By Eddy Ball August 2011 NIEHS kicked off an intensive three-day stakeholder community workshop at 1:00 p.m. July 12 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Imperial Conference Center in Research... More »
Fourth National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment Last Updated on 2011-06-20 00:00:00 This article, written by Bob Weinhold*, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences The article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by Encyclopedia of Earth editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the Encyclopedia of Earth. Pollution Portrait: The Fourth National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment Taken at face value, the results of the fourth edition of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), released 11 March 2011 are sobering.1 Every person in the country is at 10 times or greater risk for getting cancer from outdoor air pollutants than... More »
Environmental Assessment Last Updated on 2011-02-17 00:00:00 The International Association for Impact Assessment has defined environmental assessment (or environmental impact assessment) as “. . . the process of identifying the future consequences of a current or proposed action.” Such assessment brings into consideration the possible impact (positive or negative) that proposed actions may have on the environment and include natural, /socio and economic considerations. Environmental assessment is a process that involves evaluation of the environmental effects of an undertaking including its alternatives. There are three levels of analysis depending on whether or not an undertaking could significantly affect the environment. These three levels include: categorical exclusion determination; preparation of an environmental assessment/finding of no significant impact; and preparation of an environmental impact statement.   At... More »
Global Secondhand Smoke Burden Last Updated on 2011-02-05 00:00:00 This article, written by Naomi Lubick*, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences The article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by Encyclopedia of Earth editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the Encyclopedia of Earth. Call it what you will—passive smoking, environmental tobacco smoke, or secondhand smoke (SHS)—worldwide, exposure to the emissions from smokers’ cigarettes caused the premature death of an estimated 603,000 people in 2004, according to a team of academic and World Health Organization (WHO) researchers.1 This first global assessment of the burden of SHS was led by... More »