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Chemistry International

The News Magazine of IUPAC

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Volume 22, Issue 3


New Publications from the World Health Organization

Published Online: 2009-09-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ci.2000.22.3.84b

New Books and Publications

New Publications from the World Health Organization

Monitoring Ambient Air Quality for Health Impact Assessment

(WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No. 85), WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark 1999, 196 pages (available in English only), ISBN 92-890-1351-6, CHF 62.-/USD 55.80, Order No. 1310085.

Air quality assessment is frequently driven by the need to determine whether a standard or guideline has been exceeded, but it should also provide the information needed to estimate population exposure to air pollution and the effects on the health of the population. Most air quality monitoring systems do not fully address population exposure to toxic air pollution. Health impact assessment combines estimates of population exposure with information on toxicity. Given the importance of the availability of valid information on population exposure to air pollutants, the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health organized a working group to define the features of monitoring networks that allow their use in assessing the potential exposure of the population to air pollution from ambient air. This work resulted in this book. The principles outlined are intended to promote progressive modification of the networks monitoring air quality to improve their usefulness for health impact assessment.

This book is directed specifically to network managers, to those who design new networks or modify existing ones, to policymakers, and to those who influence policy.

New Books and Publications

New Publications from the World Health Organization

Principles for the Assessment of Risks to Human Health from Exposure to Chemicals, Environmental Health Criteria No. 210

1999, xx + 110 pages (English with summaries in French and Spanish), ISBN 92-4-157210-8, CHF 29.-/ USD 26.10; In developing countries: CHF 20.30, Order No. 1160210. WHO Marketing and Dissemination, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland; E-mail: bookorders@who.ch; Tel.: +41 22 791 24 76; Fax: +41 22 791 48 57.

This book provides a state-of-the-art review of methods and procedures for assessing the risks to human health posed by environmental chemicals. Addressed to regulatory authorities, risk managers, and other decision- makers, the book aims to demystify the principles of risk assessment and thus to encourage wider use of this powerful tool for protecting populations. Because the detection of chemical hazards may have socioeconomic and political consequences, the book gives particular attention to methods for the accurate identification of risks and determination of their severity. Details range from an alert to sources of uncertainty in scientific evidence, through an explanation of the distinction between individual and population risks, to a list of questions commonly addressed during risk characterization. Practical advice on various options for risk elimination or reduction is also provided in this comprehensive guide.

The book has four chapters covering each logical step in the process of risk assessment. The first, on hazard identification, explains how data on a chemical’s toxicity and mode of action can be used to determine whether the chemical will cause adverse effects on health. The strengths and limitations of different types of data are discussed, together with criteria commonly used to establish causality. Methods for assessing dose-response relationships are reviewed in Chapter 2, which explains how to characterize the relationship between the dose administered or received and the incidence of an adverse effect. Methods for assessing non-neoplastic, or threshold, effects and neoplastic, nonthreshold effects are described in detail.

Exposure assessment is covered in the next chapter, which describes methods for determining the nature and extent of contact with chemical substances and discusses the special characteristics of exposure in the general environment, in the workplace, and from consumer products. The final chapter explains the procedure of risk characterization as a decision-making tool that brings together estimates of exposure levels and risks and summarizes sources of uncertainty in the scientific data. Practical options for risk management are presented as a range of regulatory, nonregulatory, economic, advisory, and technological measures.

About the article

Published Online: 2009-09-01

Published in Print: 2000-05-01

Citation Information: Chemistry International -- Newsmagazine for IUPAC, Volume 22, Issue 3, Pages 84–85, ISSN (Online) 1365-2192, ISSN (Print) 0193-6484, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ci.2000.22.3.84b.

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