John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Consideration of the background chemical environment in French regulatory health risk assessments: Practices and guidelines Volume 9, issue 6, Novembre-Décembre 2010

EDF, Délégation Groupe Santé Sécurité Service des études médicales 45, rue Kleber 92300 Levallois-Perret France, EIFER (European Institute for Energy research) Emmy-Noether Straße 11  D-76131 Karlsruhe Allemagne, Ineris Parc technologique Alata, BP2  60550 Verneuil-en-Halatte France, EHESP, Avenue du professeur Léon-Bernard, CS 74312  35043 Rennes cedex, France, Centre d'études de l'impact de l'environnement sur la santé, 6, allée Alan Turin 63175 Aubière France
  • Key words: environmental health, environmental pollution, environmental exposure, hazardous substances, legislation, public health, risk assessment
  • DOI : 10.1684/ers.2010.0395
  • Page(s) : 517-26
  • Published in: 2010

Quantitative health risk assessments in France are most often conducted as a part of impact studies of industrial facilities and polluted soil management policies. These assessments must take into account the chemical background of the study site, regardless of its origin (natural or human). Characterization of this background and its integration into these regulatory quantitative health risk assessments are left to the risk assessors' judgement. We seek to improve practices by proposing guidelines for this process. Interviews with professionals and bibliographic research permitted us to review the state of the art, to inventory the definitions of the term “background”, to examine the reasons and methods for assessing it, and to distinguish the respective responsibilities of assessors, companies, and government authorities. One route to improvement would involve analysing the purpose of considering this background.