Risk-Screening of Environmental Indicators - A Way to Identify Priorities
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the Risk Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) to prioritize toxic releases that might be of public health concern. Whether a chemical causes harm depends on many factors, but includes the amount a person is exposed to and the toxicity of the chemical. RSEI takes the amount of toxics put into the environment, analyzes their toxicity and risk to humans, and ranks their potential risk relative to other Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) releases. RSEI scores can be used to analyze trends and evaluate the need for more investigation.
The newest RSEI software (version 2.3.1) added three years to the dataset, making 2010 TRI data the most recent available. The RSEI program can be downloaded from EPA's website. The RSEI model uses information provided by the TRI. Washington's RSEI scores show that risks from toxic chemical releases continue to decrease. This is good news!
RSEI data can be used to identify and rank facilities that have increased or decreased their RSEI score from year to year. Chromium and chromium compounds, both persistent, bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs), top the list for the greatest reductions in risk score between 2007 and 2010. A high RSEI risk score shows an area for more study and not necessarily an area of high risk.
Why should we be concerned about toxic releases?
What are the benefits of reducing toxic releases?
What are some actions being taken to decrease risks from toxic releases?
Want more information about Ecology’s efforts to reduce toxic chemicals in Washington?
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