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Toxicology and risk assessment in the analysis and management of environmental risk 

Toxicology and risk assessment in the analysis and management of environmental risk

Toxicology and risk assessment in the analysis and management of environmental risk

Bernard D. Goldstein

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date: 20 January 2017

Risk-based decision making increasingly has global dimensions, extending from the international management of chemical risks to the sustainable development of our planet. Environmental risk assessment is firmly based on toxicological sciences with input from other public health disciplines. Increasing understanding of how the human genotype and phenotype affects absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of external agents, including foods, is providing insight into answers to the oldest human question about disease: ‘Why me?’ The risk paradigm components of hazard assessment, dose–response analysis, exposure assessment, and risk characterization, and the toxicological concepts on which they are based, have proven durable in approaching increasingly complex environmental hazards. Newer approaches to managing risk, such as the precautionary principle, and newer challenges ranging from nanotechnology to the health impacts of global climate change, are necessitating more systematic thinking on how best to protect human health and the environment.

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