Health Risk Assessment, Surveillance & Management

Environment Health Risk Assessment

Last Updated: December 15, 2017

Environmental Health Risk Assessment is the multidisciplinary field of environmental health practice that is focused around the methods used to evaluate exposure, predict health risks and outcomes, and inform decision-making to control or otherwise respond to unacceptable exposures to environmental hazards. 

The practice of health risk assessment and the utilization of the principles and standards of risk assessment are widely distributed across the Army Public Health Center, as it is an important tool for many, if not all, of the functional areas of public health.  Nonetheless, the APHC provides an integration mechanism and a set of unique, low density specialized mission services for this multidisciplinary field of practice.  Often risk assessment services require the collaboration of subject matter experts (SMEs) from several technical disciplines spanning across various parts of the APHC.  The EHRAP often facilitates and leads groups of SMEs to address risk assessment issues from the garrison level up to the OSD directorate level.

Risk assessment products can be powerful tools to organize and articulate scientific knowledge within a framework useful to decision makers.  Without uncertainty there is no reason to assess risk.  Thus, risk assessments must be designed to deal with uncertainty.  Uncertainties exist in the identification and measurement of hazards, the estimation of exposures, the identification and measurement of health effects associated with exposures, and in the method used to characterize population and operational risks.  The creation of a risk assessment product is an iterative process designed to be refined over several revisions until there is consensus on the most important and most uncertain factors affecting the results. How confident decision-makers need to be on these important but uncertain factors should drive the duration and complexity of the risk assessment life-cycle.  Any given health risk estimate is designed to inform a decision and its generation is influenced by assumptions based on data availability and risk perceptions.

As a multidisciplinary field practice, environmental health risk assessment draws knowledge and implements techniques from a variety of technical disciplines.  The following disciplines are commonly involved when provided environmental health risk assessment services —

  • Public Health
  • Environmental and Exposure Science
  • Chemistry and Engineering
  • Toxicology and Epidemiology
  • Environmental Medicine
  • Industrial Hygiene
  • Microbiology and Ecology
  • Environmental and Biostatistics
  • Risk Communication

Environmental health risk assessments (EHRAs) and related risk assessment services support many types of decisions facing military risk-managers.  The following is an illustrative list, which is not all inclusive.

  • EHRAs inform the setting of chemical and biological exposure guidelines and standards.
  • EHRAs inform environmental cleanup decisions.
  • EHRAs inform force health protection for COCOMs and forward deployed bases.
  • EHRAs inform the design of hazardous waste combustion facility operations.
  • EHRAs inform the design of open burning and open detonation operations.
  • EHRAs inform the design of hazard detection, identification, and remediation systems.
  • EHRAs inform the life-cycle management of chemicals and materials.

Please contact us with requests for these and similar risk assessment services. The following set of products and service categories are of most interest to APHC stakeholders.  Other products and services are currently being provided.  Emerging products and services are generally designed to suit the needs of the particular risk management challenge and build on lessons learned.

Operational Risk Assessment Products and Services

  • Provide environmental health information to support medical decisions at the COCOM level.
  • Provide exposure assessment information to deployed preventive medicine personnel.
  • Produce Periodic Occupational and Environmental Monitoring Summaries (POEMS).
  • Exposure assessment consultation to medical providers.
  • Hazard assessment of unique deployment environmental health issues.
  • Train the trainer support to PVTMED detachment validation teams.
  • Provide risk assessment SME support to internal APHC customers.
  • Support DoD USDI&E Chemical and Materials Risk Management Directorate.
    • Perform screening functions to identify potential hazards to DoD.
    • Conduct Phase I assessment to assess risk to DoD for potential or expected regulatory actions. 

Sustainment Risk Assessment Products and Services

  • Perform Environmental Health Risk Assessment special projects/studies and rapid response assessments of potential environmental health concerns at both CONUS and OCONUS installations and other DoD agencies.
  • Provide general Environmental Health Risk Assessment consultations that include advice and support to Army installation personnel, other Services, DoD agencies, other APHC programs and the Army Public Health Enterprise.
  • Perform Defense Environmental Restoration Act (DERA) consultations to include activities such as reviewing documents, attending public meetings, providing telephone consults and conducting site visits.
  • Perform DERA clean-up plan reviews to include conducting document reviews and providing comments and recommendations on reports such as remedial investigation and feasibility study reports and decision documents with an emphasis on human and ecological health risk assessments as required by AR 200-1.
  • Perform DERA policy impact reviews, provide comments on new or changing regulations, and policies and provide input to the development of such regulations/policies.
  • Perform Environmental Health Combustion Risk Assessment studies in support of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitting at specific installations or activities with sources that include incinerators and open burning/open detonation of munitions items.
  • Provide Risk Assessment SME support to internal APHC customers.

Strategic Risk Assessment Products and Services


   Contact us for more information.