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The use of Monte-Carlo simulation techniques for risk assessment: study of a municipal waste incinerator

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0045-6535(00)00435-5
  • Human Risk Assessment
  • Pcdd/Fs
  • Municipal Solid Waste
  • Incinerator
  • Monte-Carlo Simulation


Abstract The incremental lifetime risks due to polychlorinated dibenzo- p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) for the residents living in the surroundings of a municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) have been assessed. Two different pathways of exposure to PCDD/Fs, ingestion through the diet and exposure from MSWI emissions, were compared. Monte-Carlo simulations were carried out to obtain variability and uncertainty propagation The joint analysis of uncertainty and variability included a sensitivity analysis that identified the contribution to variance by different inputs. In general terms, PCDD/F ingestion through the diet contributed with more than 99% of the total risk, whereas direct exposition to PCDD/F emissions from the MSWI was less than 1% The results show that the median (50% percentile) of non-carcinogenic risk due to PCDD/Fs in the population living in the surroundings of the MSWI was 0.72 and the ratio of the 95th percentile and fifth percentile was about 2. With respect to the total carcinogenic risk, the median increment in individual lifetime was 7.90×10 −5, while the ratio between the 95th percentile and the fifth percentile was about 1.5. In this analysis, a sequential structural decomposition of the relationships between the input variables has been used to partition the variance in the output (risk) in order to identify the most influential contributors to overall variance among them.

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