POPs Toolkit Glossary


RAF (Relative Absorption Factor)A variable in exposure equations which accounts for the proportion of chemical absorbed by an organism.
RAIS (Risk Assessment Information System)A risk assessment reference website hosted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the United States: http://rais.ornl.gov/.
RBC (Risk Based Concentrations)Numerical guidelines for soil, drinking water, air and fish compiled by the US EPA Region III. The purpose of the RBCs are as a site screening tool. The RBCs were calculated from human TRVs (called reference doses and cancer slope factors by the US EPA).
Reference Dose (RfD)The RfD is a numerical estimate of a daily oral exposure to the human population, including sensitive subgroups such as children that are not likely to cause harmful effects during a lifetime. RfDs are generally used for health effects that are thought to have a threshold or low dose limit for producing effects.
Remedial Action (RA)The actual construction or implementation phase of a Superfund site cleanup that follows remedial design.
Remedial DesignA phase of remedial action that follows the remedial investigation/feasibility study and includes development of engineering drawings and specifications for a site cleanup.
Remediation1. Cleanup or other methods used to remove or contain a toxic spill or hazardous materials from a Superfund site; 2. for the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response program, abatement methods including evaluation, repair, enclosure, encapsulation, or removal of greater than 3 linear feet or square feet of asbestos-containing materials from a building.
Repeatability(1) A measure of the ability of repeat the same sampling at the same location to monitor or verify the result under the same measurement conditions or (2) The degree of agreement between independent test results produced by the same analyst, using the same test method and equipment on random aliquots of the same sample within a short time period.
RepresentativenessA measure of the degree to which data accurately and precisely represent a characteristic of a population, a parameter variation at a sampling point, a process condition, or an environmental condition.
Reproductive ToxicityAdverse effects on the male and/or female reproductive systems caused by exposure to a toxic chemical. Reproductive toxicity may be expressed as alterations in sexual behavior, decreases in fertility or fetal loss during pregnancy. Some official definitions of reproductive toxicity, for example in California's Proposition 65, include developmental toxicity as part of reproductive toxicity
ResidentialRefers to lands used for housing.
Respiratory ToxicityAdverse effects on the structure or function of the respiratory system caused by exposure to a toxic chemical. Respiratory toxicants can produce a variety of acute and chronic pulmonary conditions, including local irritation, bronchitis, pulmonary edema, emphysema and cancer.
Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)A table that relates the program/ project organization structure to the work breakdown structure to ensure that each element of the program/project’s scope of work is assigned to a responsible organization or individual.
RiskA measure of the probability that damage to life, health, property, and/or the environment will occur as a result of a given hazard. For health risk, it is a measure of both the harm to human health that results from being exposed to a hazardous agent, together with the likelihood that the harm will occur. In order for a health risk to exist, three things must be true: there must be exposure to a hazard; there must be a health effect (via exposure pathway and route); and there must be some likelihood (probability) that the health effect will occur.
Risk (Adverse) for Endangered SpeciesRisk to aquatic species if anticipated pesticide residue levels equal one-fifth of LD10 or one-tenth of LC50; risk to terrestrial species if anticipated pesticide residue levels equal one-fifth of LC10 or one-tenth of LC50.
Risk AssessmentQualitative and quantitative evaluation of the risk posed to human health and/or the environment by the actual or potential presence and/or use of specific pollutants.
Risk Assessment Management ProcessGlobal term for the whole process from hazard identification to risk management (See Risk Governance Framework).
Risk CharacterizationThe last phase of the risk assessment process that estimates the potential for adverse health or ecological effects to occur from exposure to a stressor and evaluates the uncertainty involved.
Risk CommunicationInterpretation and exchange of information about health or environmental risks in terms that are comprehensible among risk assessors and managers, and to the policy-makers and general public, news media, interest groups, etc without specialist knowledge (see also Health Risk communication). Effective risk communication involves determining the types of information that interested and affected parties need and want, and presenting this information to them in a useful and meaningful way.
Risk EstimateA description of the probability that organisms exposed to a specific dose of a chemical or other pollutant will develop an adverse response, e.g., cancer.
Risk FactorSomething that can increase the likelihood that adverse health effects will occur following exposure to an agent. Examples of risk factors include characteristics (e.g., race, sex, age, obesity) or behavior/variables (e.g., smoking, occupational exposure level) associated with increased probability of a toxic effect.
Risk for Non-Endangered SpeciesRisk to species if anticipated pesticide residue levels are equal to or greater than LC50.
Risk Governance FrameworkThe concept of risk governance comprises a broad picture of risk: not only does it include what has been termed risk ‘pre-assessment’, ‘appraisal’, and ‘management’, and characterization’ and ‘evaluation’ of risk, it also looks at how risk-related decision-making unfolds when a range of actors is involved, requiring co-ordination and possibly reconciliation between a profusion of roles, perspectives, goals and activities. Indeed, the limited problem-solving capacities of individual actors call for coordinated effort amongst a variety of players beyond the frontiers of countries, sectors, hierarchical levels, disciplines and risk fields. Finally, risk governance also illuminates a risk’s context by taking account of such factors as the historical and legal background, guiding principles, value systems and perceptions as well as organizational imperatives.
Risk ManagementDecision-making process involving considerations of political, social, economic, and engineering factors with relevant risk assessments relating to a potential hazard so as to develop, analyze, and compare regulatory options and to select the optimal regulatory response for safety from that hazard. Essentially risk management is the combination of three steps: risk evaluation; emission and exposure control; risk monitoring.
Risk Management GoalA set of aims and clearly defined steps to achieve intended results or outcomes of Risk Management.
Risk PerceptionThe way that individuals intuitively see and judge risks. Risk perception is influenced by many factors including age, gender, level of education, region of residence, values, social, cultural and ethical factors, and previous exposure to information on the hazard.
Risk Reduction strategyOne or more courses of action (options), intended to prevent or reduce a specific risk. A variety of different types of strategies may be used, ranging from a simple approach involving a single risk management option, to a multi-faceted approach in which a number of different options are implemented to varying degrees.
Route of ExposureThe avenue by which a chemical comes into contact with an organism, e.g., inhalation, ingestion, dermal contact, injection.
Run-OffThat part of precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that runs off the land into streams or other surface-water. It can carry pollutants from the air and land into receiving waters.
Hatfield Consultants The World Bank funded by the Canadian POPs Trust Fund through the      
Canadian International Development Agency
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