Superfund:

Risk Assessment Assumptions and Issues

T-RCED-95-206: Published: May 24, 1995. Publicly Released: May 24, 1995.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) assessments of the health risks posed by Superfund hazardous waste sites. GAO noted that: (1) the EPA risk assessment process includes estimating the quantity of contaminants that could be reaching human populations and determining the contaminants' toxicity; (2) EPA makes assumptions about the quantity and toxicity of these contaminants because data on such factors are often incomplete; (3) although critics believe that EPA assumptions are often unrealistic, EPA believes its estimates must be conservative in order to minimize human exposure to toxins from Superfund sites; (4) although EPA risk assessors generally follow EPA policies, they have made inconsistent assumptions about the sites' future use and have not fully disclosed the basis for their conclusions as required; and (5) advisory groups generally support the EPA risk assessment process, but they believe that risk assumptions should be more explicit and more data should be collected on the range of possible exposure risks.

Nov 20, 2014

Nov 17, 2014

Oct 16, 2014

Oct 14, 2014

Sep 23, 2014

Sep 22, 2014

Sep 19, 2014

Sep 15, 2014

Sep 12, 2014

Sep 9, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here