A public health context for residual risk assessment and risk management under the clean air act.
The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act required the EPA to institute new pollution control technology requirements for industrial sources of air pollution. In part because agreement could not be reached on the best way for the EPA to determine whether any significant risks to human health will remain after the technology controls are in place, the amendments also created a Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management and gave the commission a broad mandate to review and make recommendations concerning risk assessment and risk management in federal regulatory programs. In its March 1997 final report to Congress and the administration, the commission recommended a tiered approach to assessing such residual risks. That approach included the idea that when decisions about managing residual risks are made, emissions should be evaluated in the context of other sources of air pollution. Evaluating risks in their larger contexts is consistent with what the commission called a public health approach to environmental risk management. This paper describes the public health approach and how it applies to evaluating residual risks under the Clean Air Act.