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NIMBioS Tutorial

Risk Assessment Calculator Training

Topic: U.S EPA and RAIS Screening Level Calculator Training for Chemical and Radionuclide Risk Analysis

Meeting dates: March 5-7, 2019

Location: NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Fred Dolislager, Leslie Galloway, Debra Stewart, and Karessa Manning
The Institute for Environmental Modeling, Univ. of Tenn. and Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Objectives: The Institute for Environmental Modeling (TIEM) team has been publishing online "risk" (cancer risk and hazard index) calculators for over twenty years; this training provided participants with operational knowledge of all TIEM calculators. Additionally, the instruction delved into the ability of the calculators to address site-specific exposures, unique toxicity assessments, and complex risk characterizations. With proper instruction, the calculators can provide all the tables necessary for exposure, toxicity, characterization, and uncertainty assessment sections of a risk assessment. Instruction into the details of the equations enlightened users on how the calculators handle the following special cases: mutagens, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, arsenic, dioxin-like PCBs, PAHs, skin absorption factors, volatile chemicals in soil, volatile chemicals in tap water, petroleum hydrocarbons, surrogate toxicity values, soil saturation, and soil screening levels protective of contaminant migration to groundwater. Participants learned to adjust standard chronic land uses to subchronic exposures. Participants learned to retrieve and analyze the chemical-specific property sources and the hierarchy used to assemble the database. Participants learned to retrieve and analyze the toxicity value hierarchy used in the screening level and risk calculators. In addition to a large focus on developing risk-based screening levels, participants derived "forward" risk results from the EPA screening calculators and used the RAIS calculators to generate chronic daily intakes and risk results. At the end of each day, several practice sessions reinforced the use of calculator functions. Practice sessions became more challenging as the course progresses, helping participants solidify their risk assessment skills. Also presented was TIEM's release of the RSL/RML mobile app (currently in development).

Day 3 of training (optional) covered radiation risk assessment. To attend the third day, participants must have attended the first two days or receive prior permission from the training instructors. Day 3 was fast-paced, and calculator operational topics from the first two days were not repeated.

This training was primarily intended for fresh and seasoned environmental professionals working on risk assessment projects at the Federal or State level. Our calculators are used by many State government agencies, Federal agencies, and university staff and researchers. Consultants, regulators, educators, and project managers would also benefit from the training. A very basic knowledge of risk assessment, computer usage, and web browsing was assumed.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) available: Chemical risk tools = 1.3 credits; Radionuclide risk tools = 0.6 credits

Requirements: This was a hands-on course, and participants followed the instructors click for click, so laptop (and charger) were required. Instructors presented all calculators using Chrome, so Chrome was required on laptops.  Not required, but useful: spreadsheet software and a PDF viewer. Wi-Fi was provided.

Topics: human health risk assessment, U.S. EPA guidance, cancer risk, hazard index, exposure assessment, toxicity assessment, risk characterization, regional screening Levels (RSLs), regional removal management levels (RMLs), vapor intrusion screening levels (VISL), radionuclide preliminary remediation goals for radionuclides (PRGSs), radionuclide dose compliance calculators (DCCs), the risk assessment information system (RAIS), RSL/RML app.

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Evaluation Report

Training Slides:
Superfund Radition Risk Assessment 2018
RAIS Risk Calculator Training 2019

A goal of NIMBioS is to enhance the cadre of researchers capable of interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all its activities. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. You can read more about our Diversity Plan on our NIMBioS Policies web page. The NIMBioS building is fully handicapped accessible.

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University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410
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FAX: (865) 974-9461
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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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