Risk assessment is a science-based tool that is used to evaluate the effects of a chemical or substance, activity, lifestyle or natural phenomenon on human health and/or the environment. Risk assessment utilizes the best available scientific information, as well as professional judgment and policy, to estimate risks, and ultimately to help government agencies and the public make informed decisions about preventing and reducing risks.
The Minnesota Department of Health uses health risk assessment to better understand the adverse effects of exposures to hazardous chemicals and other substances on people. For example, we use health risk assessment to:
- Provide recommendations to risk assessors and risk managers for evaluating risks from contaminants in air, groundwater, and other environmental media;
- Assess health risks from exposures to chemicals in homes, schools, and other environments;
- Provide fish consumption advice; and
- Evaluate risks from chemical exposures to vulnerable or susceptible populations, such as infants and children.
Health risk assessment also is used to provide information to the public about ways to prevent and reduce exposures to environmental health hazards. For more information, see Programs/Services or contact the Health Risk Assessment Unit.