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Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment Forum
Federal Register Notices

Several recent reports have highlighted the importance of understanding the aggregation of risks from multiple environmental stressors. These include the National Research Council's (NRC) 1994 report Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment and the 1997 report by the Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management entitled Risk Assessment and Risk Management in Regulatory Decision-Making. In addition, recent legislation, such as the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move beyond single chemical assessments and to focus, in part, on the cumulative effects of chemical exposures occurring simultaneously. Further emphasizing the need for EPA to focus on cumulative risks are the cases filed under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. These cases have demanded a population-based approach to assessing human health risks from environmental contaminants.

The Framework is the first step in a long-term effort to develop cumulative risk assessment guidance. Building on EPA's growing experience with cumulative risk assessment, the Framework identifies the basic elements of the cumulative risk assessment process and provides a flexible structure for conducting and evaluating cumulative risk assessment, and for addressing scientific issues related to cumulative risk. Although this Framework report will serve as a foundation for developing future guidance, it is neither a procedural guide nor a regulatory requirement within EPA, and it is expected to evolve with experience. The Framework is not an attempt to lay out protocols to address all the risks or considerations that are needed to adequately inform community decisions. Rather, it is an information document, focused on describing various aspects of cumulative risk.

This document has benefitted from extensive peer input. Earlier drafts of the documents served as background pieces for peer consultations with state, Federal, and other peer groups. An external peer review, open to the public, was held in June 2002. The document was revised based on input received during the peer consultation and review processes, and from public review and comment.

Downloads/Related Links

Related Link(s)


U.S. EPA. Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington Office, Washington, DC, EPA/600/P-02/001F, 2003.

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