Precautionary Assessment

The goal of precautionary assessment (PA) is to move beyond risk assessment and allow communities and individual to incorporate their knowledge, values and ethics into a more comprehensive evaluation of a hazardous condition.

The PA combines the philosophy and ethics of the precautionary principle with the standard scientific evaluation of the hazards. Precautionary assessment contains three basic elements: a) community and social issues, b) exposure, and c) hazard and toxicity. Each element is broken down into a series of questions that are scored numerically and summed to produce a summary score for each element.

The PA is designed to help place the knowledge available within the context of the community. In contrast to the traditional risk assessment, the PA is a more comprehensive approach to evaluating the human and environmental health risks. Overall, the PA is a more reasonable, rational, and responsible approach to evaluating risk of chemicals.