Referring to numerical standards or guidelines for environmental quality (e.g., standards for drinking water, guidelines or standards for indoor air, soil criteria, etc.) is frequently part of evaluating whether a public health intervention is warranted in cases of environmental contamination. However, because different standards or guidelines reflect varying potential health risks, or may not primarily reflect potential human health risks at all, interpretation can be challenging. In addition, numerical standards or guidelines are not always available to address every potential human health issue associated with an issue of environmental contamination. This talk will describe examples of all these scenarios, potential responses, and explore critical aspects of how standards and guidelines are established.
Erin Hodge is an Environmental Science Specialist in the Environmental and Occupational Health Unit at PHO, where she is involved with critical analysis of health-based standards for environmental contaminants in order to support responses of public health units to issues of environmental contamination. Prior to joining the Agency, she was a regulatory toxicologist at the Standards Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
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