Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
PAUMGARTTEN, Francisco J. R.. Risk assessment for chemical substances: the link between toxicology and public health. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1993, vol.9, n.4, pp. 439-447. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X1993000400004.
Virtually all chemical substances may cause adverse health effects, depending on the dose and conditions under which individuals are exposed to them. Toxicology - the study of harmful effects of chemicals on living organisms - provides the scientific data base on which risk assessment of adverse health effects stands. Risk assessment (RA) is the process of estimating the probability that a chemical compound will produce adverse effects on a given population, under particular conditions of exposure. Risk assessment process consists of four stages: Hazard Identification (HI), Exposure Assessment (EA), Dose-Response Assessment (DRA), and Risk Characterization (RC). The risk assessment process as a whole makes it possible to carry out cost(risk)/benefit analysis, and thus risk management, on a rational basis. A capacity to undertake risk assessment is thus sine qua non for making decisions that are concerned with achieving a balance between economic development and adequate protection of public health and the environment.
Keywords : Toxicology; Risk Assessment; Risk Management; Cancer; Public Health; Economic Development; Developing Countries.