Integrated Uncertainty Analysis for Ambient Pollutant Health Risk Assessment: A Case Study of Ozone Mortality Risk

01 January 2018
Dr. Anne E. Smith and Dr. Garrett Glasgow

In a recent article in Risk Analysis, NERA Managing Director and Co-Chair of the Environment Practice Dr. Anne E. Smith and Senior Consultant Dr. Garrett Glasgow examine how the US Environmental Protection Agency uses health risk assessment to help inform its decisions setting national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This article discusses how model uncertainty can be taken into account with an integrated uncertainty analysis (IUA) of health risk estimates. The authors provide an illustrative numerical example based on the risk of premature death from respiratory mortality due to long-term exposure to ambient ozone, which is a health risk considered in the 2015 ozone NAAQS decision. The authors conclude that regardless of how an IUA might alter the information about uncertainty in each specific application, they believe the method of IUA should become a standard part of future health risk and exposure assessments and regulatory impact analyses.