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Rethinking human health impact assessment

Authors
Journal
Environmental Impact Assessment Review
0195-9255
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
20
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0195-9255(00)00068-8
Keywords
  • Eia
  • Human Health Risk Assessment
  • Precautionary Principle
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Abstract Most EIA programs around the world require the consideration of human health impacts. Yet relatively few EIA documents adequately address those impacts. This article examines how, why, and to what extent health impacts are analyzed in environmental impact assessments in the U.S. An empirical study of 42 environmental impact statements found that more than half contained no mention of health impacts. In the others, health impacts were analyzed narrowly, if at all, using risk assessment to quantify the carcinogenic potential of a single substance over a single generation. This analytic focus overlooks other significant morbidity and mortality risks, cumulative and intergenerational effects, and broader determinants of health. This article investigates these problems and provides recommendations to improve human health impact assessment, using strategic environmental assessment, qualitative health data, health outcomes in addition to cancer, and a precautionary approach to risk.

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