environmental science

    Risk based decisions routinely guide public health practice. Environmental risk assessment relies on an understanding of exposure and hazards. You have recently been hired by a local health department and are immediately charged with determining whether perchlorate in private wells in the community are a problem. These private wells are located adjacent to an industry that manufactured solid rocket propellants for a number of years. Local geology in the area is predominantly karst. Unfortunately, you do not have any local data on perchlorate in groundwater, but citizens keep calling the health department and demanding answers, so you must act now, relying on literature information to support your work, before the board of health meeting, which is scheduled for ~72 hrs from now.

    1.      What environmental exposure evidence exists that perchlorate contaminates drinking water sources, particularly from groundwater? What are the ranges of groundwater concentrations of perchlorate that have been reported?

    2.      What toxicological evidence exists that perchlorate are problematic for human health? What animal toxicology exists for perchlorate? What are the ranges of toxicological thresholds for various endpoints from studies with perchlorate? What MCL, RfD, ADI and CSF values exist for perchlorate?

    3.      Based on your answers to questions 1 and 2 and knowledge gained from ENV 5302, develop a 1 page, single spaced (Times New Roman, 1 margins, 12 point font) executive summary for the director of the health department and the local board of health advocating to perform point of use surveillance sampling of local residences with private wells for perchlorate. Because analytical chemistry measures for monitoring of perchlorate in water can be costly, and the health department budget is already stressed, identify and defend how much will your analyses of 10 private wells cost, and how quickly can you report back to your director and board of health regarding risks facing your community?

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