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Health risk assessment in zone analyses

Rapport en anglais  (1010 ko)

Date du document : 21/12/2010

Date de mise en ligne : 05/10/2011

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On 21 May 2008, the Health Directorate General (DGS) made two requests to the High Council for Public Health (HCSP), one relating to "the development of an assessment methodology regarding health risks in the context of zone studies", the other one relating to "helping interpret the results of risk assessments conducted in the framework of impact studies".

The HCSP established a multidisciplinary working group made up of experts from various institutions.

The report is structured by the following topics: defining a zone as being a relevant area to assess health risks and devise risk management options; the utility of a zone analysis from a health risk management viewpoint; involvement of stakeholders and their roles in these situations; the main methodological principles of a Z-HRA (assessment of health risks in zones); interpretation of the results of an HRA (health risk assessment), notably on the same scale as the zone; and the benefit of regulations to guide zone assessments. Although this report questions the relevance of conducting a Z-HRA, it is not, however, intended to be a methodological guide to do so.

The HCSP then suggests a number of improvements, in terms of Z-RA, which aim to:

  • restore to its rightful place the purely quantitative approach to RA,
  • explain in detail the expected utility of a Z-RA with regards to an activity zone,
  • establish dialogue between the various involved parties
  • identify the contributory shares of the various past and present activities on the territory
  • gradually move towards the systematisation of Z-RAs, which will replace the current single-site Z-RAs.

With these developments, the RA will fully satisfy its purpose, which is to provide the information required for informed discussion between the various stakeholders regarding risk management options.

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