On April 19, 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) issued a notice to seek public feedback on the General Program of Technical Guidelines for Environmental Health Risk Assessment, aiming to guide and regulate the environmental health risk assessment work and protect the public health. The consultation is set to end on May 22 this year.
Environmental health risk assessment is an important foundation for environmental management. It can help governments to address the root cause of environmental hazards and proactively manage environmental pollutants with high health hazards, thus enabling great improvements to be made to ecological and environmental management.
The General Program is positioned as a master plan guiding the institutional framework for environmental health risk assessment. Following the principle of ensuring “scientific, conservative, up-to-date, and traceable” practices, it applies to assessment of risks to human health from exposure to chemicals in the environment.
According to the document, the procedure of environmental health risk assessment majorly contains six steps. See the graph below.
The General Program provides detailed requirements for risk assessors in performing every one of the six phases in environmental health risk assessment. For example, in developing an assessment program, risk assessors should first identify several factors, including the objective, scope, category, content of assessment, methodology for collecting data, and quality control requirements.
It should also be noted that some procedures and requirements are developed referring to relevant technical documents released by authorities of other countries as well as international organizations like the WHO.