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A comparison of risk modeling tools and a case study for human health risk assessment of volatile organic compounds in contaminated groundwater

Han, Lu, Qian, Linbo, Yan, Jingchun, Liu, Rongqin, Du, Yihua, Chen, Mengfang
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.2 pp. 1234-1245
breathing, case studies, chloroform, computer software, environmental assessment, environmental health, exposure pathways, groundwater contamination, human health, models, remediation, risk, risk assessment, vapors, volatile organic compounds, China
In order to promote the risk-based strategy in the investigation, assessment, and remediation of Chinese brownfield sites, the Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) software was developed. It is vital to validate the HERA model and compare the inter-model differences of HERA model against other available risk assessment tools. This paper discusses the similarities and differences between the Risk-Based Corrective Action (RBCA) Tool Kit and the HERA model by evaluating the health risk of organic contaminated groundwater sources for a chemical works in China for the first time. Consequently, the HERA and RBCA models yielded the identical results for Site-Specific Assessment Criteria (SSAC) under the commercial redevelopment. However, the HERA estimated more conservative and stringent SSACs under the residential scenario based on the different exposure calculations. The inhalation of indoor vapors was the most predominated exposure pathway for all the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) determined using the RBCA and HERA models. According to the HERA model, inhalation of chloroform may cause the highest unacceptable carcinogenic risk at 2.31 × 10⁻³ under the residential scenario. Therefore, it is recommended that a risk-based remedial strategy be developed to ensure the safe and sustainable redevelopment of the site.