You may not have heard of an environmental risk assessment, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
This procedure can be vital in keeping people — and ecosystems — safe. If you don’t know much about this topic and would like to learn more, read on.
Basics of Environmental Risk Assessment
At its core, assessing environmental risks is a process used to evaluate potential harm caused by a chemical substance. Certain chemicals, when released into nature, can have disastrous effects. Risk assessments are meant to analyze what risk, if any, these chemicals pose to the environment.
The potential hazards are analyzed using scientific methods. If an environment is exposed to a potentially dangerous chemical, that is when a risk assessment comes into play. The assessment will look at what harm is posed, how serious the threat is, and what the possible results could be.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, risk depends on three main factors. These include how much of a chemical is present in an environmental medium (like soil, air, or water), how much contact a person or object has, and the inherent toxicity of the chemical.
Some environments are more vulnerable than others. In the same way, some chemicals pose more of a risk than others. These factors are all considered when a risk assessment is conducted. Organizations like Poms & Associates risk consultants can help to further explain and navigate this process.
As mentioned, an environmental risk assessment is conducted through a scientific approach. Due to this fact, the conclusions — which can have drastic implications — are able to be trusted. They should be taken seriously.
Why Is It Important?
An environmental risk assessment is used for many different purposes. The results of a risk assessment are used to draw important conclusions about risks to human health.
Valid hazards can affect the environment, human health, sustainability, and more. When an environmental risk assessment declares that danger is present, there are important decisions to be made.
Exposure to certain chemicals can change a landscape forever. If our natural resources are contaminated, our health and economy suffer. Losing access to these precious resources can have permanent repercussions.
In the same way, if humans are directly exposed to certain chemicals, they can become ill or worse. Some chemicals are deadly, while others can permanently damage a person’s body or wellness. This is why it’s so important to take environmental risk assessments seriously.
The results of an assessment are used by risk managers. These officials are tasked with deciding how to protect both humans and the environment. The goal is to avoid stressors or contaminants that could be dangerous for life on earth.
These officials may work at the federal or state level, but they can also be business leaders. Companies whose work can impact the environment need an employee like this. Private citizens making potentially hazardous decisions should also make sure they are abiding by the law and will not cause any harm.
For more on living eco-friendly, check out our Tips for Going Green.