Friday, June 5, 2009

FIRESIDE CHAT: Hudson River PCB Dredging (c)

Bias in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Baseline Health Risk Assessment Supporting the Decision to Require Dredging of PCB-Bearing Sediments from the Hudson River

Robert A. Michaels, Uriel M. Oko


Purpose, Scope, and Overview

Administrative procedure under Superfund involves interested parties (‘stakeholders’), by design introducing politics into EPA administrative procedure. The present study addresses the question of whether, despite political influence, dredging is justifiable by the science of health risk assessment (HRA). The EPA apparently justified its decision to require dredging based upon a baseline assessment of PCB risks, not an assessment quantifying PCB risks potentially posed under dredging scenarios ~US Environmental Protection Agency, 1999, 2000a, 2000b!. An HRA should compare potential risks under specific dredging scenarios with baseline risks following completion of the demonstration dredging project. For this comparison process to be valid, baseline risks potentially posed by all relevant exposure routes, including PCB inhalation, should have been estimated in a valid and unbiased manner. The present study addresses this issue.


or see:

Michaels, RA.; and UM Oko. Bias in the US EPA baseline health risk assessment supporting the decision to require dredging of PCB-bearing sediments from the Hudson River. Environmental Practice (Cambridge University Press), 9(2):96-111, June 2007.