- data acquisition and processing
- statistical modeling and exposure point concentration (EPC) calculation
- exposure assessment
- toxicity assessment
- risk characterization
- uncertainty analysis
- calculation of risk-based cleanup goals
Risk assessment is the quantitative or qualitative evaluation of the potential for physical harm to result from an actual or potential release of chemicals or pathogens. Used or required by many federal and state regulatory programs (e.g., CERCLA, RCRA), risk assessments involve four key steps—hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose-response assessment, and risk characterization. INTERA specializes in the quantitative assessment of risks to health and the environment posed by chemical, physical, and microbiological agents. Our services focus on developing risk assessments to help define what cleanup activities, waste disposal practices, or management strategies are needed to protect human health and the environment. They are also used to communicate current and future human health and ecological risks, and describe how cleanup activities will reduce these risks. Our assessments are guided by local concerns, guidelines, policies, and precedents. Risk assessment confronts uncertainties at every step. When needed, we use probabilistic methods such as Monte Carlo simulations to quantify these uncertainties and to characterize risk more completely. Members of our staff are nationally recognized experts in the areas of uncertainty and probabilistic analyses of environmental and health risks. In every case, our risk assessments are site-specific and take into account the latest scientific and regulatory developments for the chemicals of concern.
In addition to impacts to human health, our projects have focused on ecological issues. Careful assessments of effects on community structure and ecosystem dynamics require efficient and sophisticated tools. Through the use of tools like GIS, which allows the overlay of habitat areas on a map of chemical concentrations on a site, we can estimate contaminant concentrations that are specific to individual habitats. INTERA’s staff of environmental scientists and risk assessment specialists bring experience that ranges from the simplest scenarios in which comparisons of site data are made with standard, published criteria to more complex studies where actual floral and faunal communities are sampled and the results are compared with ecologically identical reference sites. These projects include both baseline information development and spatial and temporal analysis of existing and projected impacts on human and ecological receptors.