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A Sample On

Environmental Risk
Assessment

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Table of Contents
Introduction .................................................................. 3
THE METHODS USED BY UNIVAR TO ASSESS SIGNIFICANCE ............................. 3
UNCERTAINTY ................................................................... 5
3.1. Data sources ........................................................... 5
3.2. Identification of Uncertainties ........................................ 6
MITIGATION MEASURES ........................................................... 7
Conclusion .................................................................... 9
References ................................................................... 10

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Index of Tables
Table 1: Statement showing mitigation of environmental risk ................... 9

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Illustration Index
Illustration 1: Risk assessment method by EUSES .............................................................................. 7
Illustration 2: Data sources of Univar for environmental risk assessment .......................................... 8

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INTRODUCTION
Assessment of environment risk plays vital risk in process of decision making in order to
reduce adverse effect of commercial operations on environment. Environmental risk assessment can
be defined as procedure of forecasting of risk caused by the chemical substances on the
environment (Bashkin, 2006). Present project report is focused on the evaluation of environmental
hazards along with their significance in Univar. For this purpose different methods will be
explained that can be used for assessment of environment risk. In addition to this, uncertainties
associated with the data will be described along with the mitigation methods being used to manage
the risks. Selected hazard for present project is chemical spillage.

THE METHODS USED BY UNIVAR TO ASSESS SIGNIFICANCE


Univar is focused on their social responsibilities thus they are using efficient tools for the
environmental risk assessment. Techniques for assessment of risk is used to determine likelihood
and consequences of hazards. Chemical risk assessment can be defined as scientific procedure used
to identifying and quantifying the likely adverse impacts on health of human or ecosystems due to
revelation to a chemical substance or to its mixture or to a chemically dangerous procedure or by
other similar situation (Ryan, 2008). In addition to this, risk itself is the possibility of negative
impact happening in defined circumstances in a defined group. For the better assessment of risk,
Univar uses tools suggested by the regulatory authority i.e. EUSES (The European Union System
for the Evaluation of Substances).
EUSES can be defined as computerized program used for the purpose of used for the
conduct for the procedure of risk assessment. This tool was developed for the purpose quantitative
assessment of risks occurred due to existing or new chemical substances in ecosystems. For this
purpose, data set is prepared by this tool which comprises list of existing or new chemical
substances. For this evaluation, following information is inserted by Univar in this tool-
1. Production quantity of Tonnage substance in EU
2. Quantity of Tonnage substance used in EU
3. Weight of Molecular
4. Vapour pressure

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5. Log octanol-water partition coefficient
6. Water solubility
7. Aquatic toxicity
8. Biodegradability

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Description of method for utilizing this tool is as follows-


Exposure assessment
Initially estimation of doses or concentrations is made by Univar by which environmental
exposure will be affected. For this purpose, following tools will be used by entity-
1. Emission module- This module is based on the identified properties such as use and
functions of chemical substances (Wang, Yang and Wang, 2007). With this information,
default emission factors is selected from data bases for several stages of life cycle.
2. Distribution module- In this module, all necessary models are considered which are required
for the estimation regarding distribution of chemical substance in ecosystem.

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3. Exposure module- This module is entirely based on the estimations made in distribution
module regarding environmental concentrations. By considering these estimations,
calculation is made by this module in order to determine level of exposure.

Assessment of effects
In this step hazards are identified by assessing adverse effects caused by the chemical
substance. For this purpose, their inherent capacity to cause adverse impact in environment is also
considered. After the identification of hazard, assessment of dose-response is done (Poyarkov, and
Vargo, 2000). In this aspect relationship is estimated between level of exposure caused by chemical
substance and severity of its effect.
Characterization of risk
Risk by chemical substance is characterized by considering estimated relationship between
level of exposure caused by chemical substance and severity of its effect. This the final step of this
method in which outcome will be represented through quantitative comparison of various
substances in ratio form i.e. PEC (Predicted Environmental Concentration)/PNEC (Predicted No-
Effect Concentration for environmental compartments). Generic name of this ratio is RCR (Risk
Characterization Ratio).

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I
llustration 1: Risk assessment method by EUSES

(Source: Mason-Whitehead, 2008)

By using this method, Univar is able to determine significance of risk assessment procedure.
With the quantitative outcome, management of organization is able to prioritize the risk by
considering severity of chemical substances (Oughton and Kashparov, 2009).

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UNCERTAINTY

3.1. Data sources


Data for the assessment of risk is collected through standardized or default values chemical
substances. Primary sources of data is used by Univar for the analysis of risk through existing
chemical substances. Further, assessment of new chemical substances is done by secondary sources
i.e. study of other researchers, online media and articles. Data collected by Univar is supported by
certain assumptions. Data of default value represents the worst case scenario and to resolve this

Illustr
aspect site specific data is required in order to replace default values.
ation 2: Data sources of Univar for environmental risk assessment

3.2. Identification of Uncertainties


Process of estimation of risk requires identification of several events which presents
jeopardy and associated risk with it. Along with this, communication is required to done of order of
magnitude of adverse impacts related with these events, and estimated risk. Described procedure is

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not implement in an organization. It is because, for completion of assessment of environment risk
appropriate data is required. Only in some situations, extended statistical data is available for the
purpose to develop understanding the severity of the hazard along with its frequency. However,
nature of environmental data is vague, qualitative and imprecise (Eduljee, 2000). In addition to this,
data for newly emerging contaminants is not certain and completely reliable. Uncertainties can be
defined as inappropriate knowledge in context of true value of a parameter. Mainly uncertainties in
procedure of risk assessment have two origins i.e. randomness and incomplete data. Description of
these origins is as follows-
1. Randomness- Uncertainty of randomness arises due to variability in core phenomena. Due to
this aspect, stochastic risk arises. Another reason of randomness is fact that components
affecting the system cannot be studies or modeled in systematic manner (Dias and Edwards,
2003).
2. Incomplete information- In this aspect complete information is not available regarding value
of parameters.

MITIGATION MEASURES
Awareness and planning
For the accommodation of above described risks following tools or theories can be implemented by
Univar-
 Probability theory- This theory is mainly applied for stochastic uncertainties. In this
approach, probability distributions can be used by Univar in order to describe random
variabilities in parameters. However, in probability theory functions of membership is used
for characterization of vagueness in human thoughts. It is traditional approach for risk
assessment. In this approach, it has been assumed that all the uncertainties in risk assessment
is due to randomness. Further, then probability distributions are used for one or more than
one variable in process of risk equation for the purpose of quantification uncertainty and
variabilities in the outcome (How to measure uncertainties in environmental risk
assessment, 2015). Output of this assessment is combination of input probability
distributions. Monte-Carlo analysis (MCA) is most preferred technique in probabilistic
techniques for the purpose of quantification of variabilities. In this method computerized
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simulation is used in risk equations. Mainly, this approach is used to address uncertainties of
parameter that relies on available statistical information. In this method assumption is made
that model parameters are random variables which can be represented through PDFs
(probability-density functions). In this approach X is considered as random variable in
which probability is taken that X should be less than or equal to the defined variables
(Bashkin, 2006). Representation of this approach in form of equation is as follows-
F (x) = P (X less than or equal to x)
However, if variable is continuous (in this X can be any value in the defined range) than
equation in this approach will be as follows-
f (x) = dF(x)/ dx

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 Fuzzy logic- System of Fuzzy logic is an alternative approach to traditional theory of


probability. This logic represents vital change in approach and outcome of random model
parameters or environmental data. According to the Leeuwen, data considered for
environmental risk assessment is always incomplete and imperfect by which proper outcome
is not attained (Leeuwen and Vermeire, 2007). As a consequence, applicability of approach
of Monte-Carlo analysis (MCA) in environment risk can result in following shortcomings-
◦ Initially, in analysis of risk by Monte-Carlo analysis (MCA) precisely specified

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distribution of input parameters is required.
◦ Further, by default researcher has to assumed that environmental data is independent and
does not get affected by other aspects. This assumption is completely hypothetical
because this aspect cannot be possible.
Thus, to resolve this aspect membership functions are used by Fuzzy logic instead of PDFs
for the expression of possibility of an outcome. This method is most certain in comparison
to probabilistic approach (Guidance for Data Usability in Risk Assessment, 2015).
By using above described methods mitigation measures that can be applied by Univar in
environmental risk assessment is as follows-

Table 1: Statement showing mitigation of environmental risk

Environmental field Method used Application in risk mitigation

Nuclear waste Probability theory Risk assessment of


underground disposal of nuclear
waste in order to reduce adverse
impact on environment.

Polluted site Probability-distribution Awareness will be created in


function society by providing knowledge
of adverse impact of pollution
on human health.

Polluted site Fuzzy logic Evaluation of risks will be done


which are polluting sites.
Further, appropriate steps will
be taken to reduce negative
impact on human health

Hazardous waste facilities Fuzzy reasoning Concept of Geographic


expression will be applied by
making people aware of ‘‘safe

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distance’’ regarding hazardous-
facility sitting (Linkov and
Ramadan, 2004).

Ecotoxic substances releases Fuzzy logic For this purpose, various


methodologies will be applied
to assess risk of release of
ecotoxic substances in chemical
plants.

CONCLUSION
From the above study, conclusion can be drawn that assessment of environmental risk is
essential for entities in order to reduce negative impact of human activities on environment. For this
purpose several methods can be used by applying relevant data. Uncertainties in data can be
resolved by using probabilistic theory and Fuzzy logics.

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REFERENCES
Books and journals

Bashkin, V., 2006. Modern biogeochemistry. Dordrecht: Springer.

Dias, G., and Edwards, G., 2003. Differentiating Natural and Anthropogenic Sources of Metals to
the Environment. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 9(4),
pp.699-721.

Eduljee, G., 2000. Trends in risk assessment and risk management. Science of The Total
Environment, 249(1-3), pp.13-23.

Leeuwen, C. and Vermeire, T., 2007. Risk assessment of chemicals. Dordrecht, The Netherlands:
Springer.

Linkov, I. and Ramadan, A., 2004. Comparative risk assessment and environmental decision
making. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Mason-Whitehead, E., 2008. Key concepts in risk assessment and environmental decision making.
Los Angeles: SAGE.

Oughton, D. and Kashparov, V., 2009. Radioactive particles in the environment. Dordrecht:
Springer.

Poyarkov, V. and Vargo, G. 2000. The Chornobyl accident. Columbus, OH: Battelle Press.

Ryan, L., 2008. Combining data from multiple sources, with applications to environmental risk
assessment. Statist. Med., 27(5), pp.698-710.

Wang, W., Ye, B., Yang, L., Li, Y. and Wang, Y. 2007. Risk assessment on disinfection by-products
of drinking water of different water sources and disinfection processes. Environment
International, 33(2), pp.219-225.

Online

How to measure uncertainties in environmental risk assessment. 2015. [online] Available through:
<http://www.dantes.info/Publications/Publication-doc/An%20overview%20of%20ERA%20-
methods%20and%20tools.pdf>. [Accessed on 11th May 2015].

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Guidance for Data Useability in Risk Assessment. 2015. [online] Available through:
<http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:405602/FULLTEXT01.pdf>. [Accessed on 11th
May 2015].

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