Health Risk Assessment For Chemical Pollutant Answer

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Question :

Undertake a health risk assessment (HRA) for a chemical pollutant. The student is required to describe what is HRA, discuss step-by-step, the methodology for conducting a HRA in the context of an exposure to a chemical pollutant and comment on a risk communication strategy for the assessment.

You are required to undertake an environmental health risk assessment (EHRA) for an environmental pollutant (of your choice) associated with a health outcome for a specified population using the following sub-headings:

1.       Research question (identify the PICO elements as appropriate)

2.        Background information (including literature review) and justification for the environmental pollutant–health outcome relationship.

3.        Methods (including problem/issue identification; hazard identification, dose–response and exposure assessment for the relevant population as appropriate)

4.       Describe a strategy for the risk communication.

5.        Conclusion

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Answer :

Health risk assessment

Research question:

The research question is developed with the health PICO (population, interventions, comparison or control, and outcomes) question framework

  • What is the impact of lead on young children aged 6-10 years with development delay and learning difficulties due to lead poisoning
  • What type of interventions can be provided to the patients Elevated Blood lead levels through nutritional interventions and education interventions according to source of lead exposure?
  • What are the other treatments of Lead Pollution Compared with the medical intervention, the focus on education and nutrition will help in reducing future exposure and provide a customised care and treatment plan according to the source of exposure?
  • The desired outcomes is to identify the effective strategy to reduce the contaminations and its occurrence among children 

Background Information

Lead: lead is the naturally occurring toxic chemical agent found in specifically in earth crust the widespread application of this metal may results in different environmental contaminations. Lead poisoning happens when the lead established in the individual’s body, commonly more than months. Even the small quantity of lead can develop health issues (Warniment, Tsang, & Galazka, 2010). Kids aged 6 or below are particularly vulnerable to lead associated poisoning, which can adversely impact their psychological and bodily development. Lead-based paint and the duct contaminated with lead in older establishments are the most usual sources of lead associated poisoning among children. Other different sources of lead poisoning are air, water bodies, and soil. Lead can directly affect children's blood cell formation and the absorption of calcium required for their strong bones, muscle activity, and nerve and blood vessel functioning. Lead is the cumulative toxicant that impacts multiple body systems and distributed to the brain, liver and both kidneys, and bones (Dapul, & Laraque, 2014). It has been identified that there no safe level has been set for led exposure.  The high levels of lead exposure among children attack the brain and the CNS (central nervous system) which may cause coma, convulsions or even death. The kids who survive the lead poisoning experiences mental retardation and other behavioural diseases. The lower level of lead does not show any symptoms and formerly deliberated as harmless, lead is now able to generate a spectrum of harm resulting in decreased IQ (intelligence quotient). Behavioural alteration including decreased attention span, and augmented behavioural of social isolation, and decreased educational attainment might also occur (Taylor, Schniering, Lanphear, & Jones, 2011). 

It has been projected that in 2016 the lead exposure causes 540 000 expiries and nearly 13.9 million years of vigorous life gone globally because of longstanding impacts on health. The uppermost burden of this health issue was in low and some middle-income nations. It was also projected that particularly in 2016, the lead exposure causes 63.8 per cent of the worldwide load of idiopathic developing intellectual incapacity, 3 per cent of the worldwide liability of ischaemic heart illness and 3.1 per cent of the global affliction of stroke (Taylor, Isley, & Glover, 2019).

Literature review 

According to Mostafa, El‐Shahawi, & Mokhtar, (2009), among Egyptian children identified that the augmented blood lead level in numerous kids is one of the major health issues in Egypt which might be the cause, minimum in part, for intellectual dysfunction with following poor scholastic accomplishment. Therefore, interventions to reduce lead experience are compulsory. Jakubowski, M. (2011), stated that Lead is the environmental pollutant unconfined into the atmosphere from the natural and anthropogenic foundations. Production of lead throughout non-ferrous metal creation and manufacturing, widespread application of lead in the paints, or as a preservative to gasoline happens on the worldwide level and can be measured as one of the major conservational tragedies of the anthropogenic source.  According to a study conducted by Van der Kuijp, Huang, & Cherry, (2013), on Chinese children identified that The LAB manufacturing is accountable for the vast majority of Lead (Pb) creation in China. They further identified that LAB manufacture and reprocessing are presently the most substantial foundations of Pb exposure in Chinese regions, with no harmless onset of exposure to lead, the total of kids in China at high risk of lead contamination and it causing behavioural alterations, reduced attention, and reduced IQ among those kids.

Health risk assessment (HRA)

A health risk assessment also called as the health risk appraisal and assessment if health & wellbeing is considered as one of the widely used screening approaches in the healthcare field for health promotions and s commonly the primary step in the multiconstituent health elevation courses or programs. Human health risk assessment is actually the process of predicting the nature and possibility of the negative health effects among human who are exposed to the specific chemical in the polluted environmental media, present or in the upcoming period. The Environmental health risk assessment includes different steps that are issue identification, hazard identifications, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization ( Bessems, Schoeters, & Santonen, 2018).

Steps of environmental risk assessment for lead 


Even a humanoid health risk assessment initiates with a decent plan. Beforehand anything prepared there is a requirement to sort judgments timely when planning main risk assessments concerning the determination, scope, and practical methodologies that will be cast-off (Martinez-Haro, Green, Acevedo, & Mateo, 2011). Planning is essential to answer some question like who is at risk, what is the environmental hazard, where the hazard comes from, how the exposure occurs, what does the body do with the hazard, health effects and time were taken by hazard to cause health issue. It has been identified that children are at great risk of developing lead poisoning, and the kids exposure to these health hazards from air, water, soil, and foodstuffs. It causes serious health issues such as mental retardedness, low IQ, and reduced concertation (Oguri, Suzuki, Matsukami, Uchida, Tue, Viet, & Takigami, 2018). 

Hazard Identification

It is the procedure of defining whether contact to a lead can source an upsurge in the occurrence of specific opposing health impacts (for example cancer, birth faults). It is likewise whether the opposing health impact is probable to occur in other children. A bluish-white to the silvery-grey, weighty, soft metal is not burned in the bulk (Clarkson, Friberg, Nordberg, & Sager, 2012). Clouds of excellently-divided lead dust are a modest fire and detonation hazard, though. When heated powerfully in air, extremely poisonous lead oxide vapours can be produced. Breathing or ingestion of this lead might generate both acute and long-lasting health impacts among young children. Some of the Possible Health issues of lead: Inhalation or digestion of lead might outcome in pain, nausea, vomiting, stomach shudders, fatigue, sleep turbulences, weight loss, anaemia and pain in the leg, arm, mental retardedness, low IQ, lack of concentration and bone joint. Lengthy exposure might also source central nervous system injury, hypertension, disturbances of gastrointestinal organs, anaemia, and dysfunction of kidney and likely other health effects among the young kids (Delgado, Ullery, Jordan, Duclos, Rajagopalan, & Scott, 2018).


Lead absorption and deterrence of the severe impacts of lead can be reconsidered from the perspectives of the serious organ and scientific effect notions and the related dose-effect and dose-response associations. If the serious organ is the primary exaggerated and the serious effect is the primary quantifiable opposing effect, intercession on this foundation must avoid the incidence of later, more severe health impacts. In the variety of lead absorption of utmost existing paediatric worry. Amongst the numerous pointers of lead's dangerous (or first) consequence on haemoglobin production, erythrocyte protoporphyrin possibly is the maximum practical for observing kids at high risk for developing plumbism issues (Clarkson, Friberg, Nordberg, & Sager, 2012.

Lead concentration in the soil and floor dust

Figure 1Lead concentration in the soil and floor dust (ppm)

The graph predicted the geometric mean of the blood lead concentration for the children. 

The exposure path from lead- built paint can impact the baby’s blood-lead concentration by both open and indirect exposure. The Indirect exposure occurs when worsened lead-built paint pollutes housing dust or soil, which is later swallowed by the kid. Direct exposure may happen through the consumption of paint chips that might be present in the house (Li, Ni, Ye, Chen, Wang, & Zhou, 2018).

Exposure assessment 

There are more than a few processes for assessing the lead exposure, counting proximal measurements, for example, the concentration of lead in the air, dust, foodstuff and water; or the pathophysiological capacities that measure the body load of lead compound (Delgado, et al., 2018). The difficulty with the proximal procedure is in defining how they interpret to actual populace exposure, meanwhile lead absorption to be contingent on a wide variety of factors, counting distinct behaviour, and nourishment. The information obligatory for the exposure assessment includes the geometric mean value or GMV; standard deviation or SD; sample size or SS; population readings; and year of reading. it has been recognised that In the exposure assessment, the levels of blood Pb are projected by first approximating concentrations of Pb in the environmental media (for example air, soil, inside dust) and later demonstrating levels of blood Pb for the child populations unprotected to these specific media (Oguri, et al., 2018).  Egyptian children identified that the augmented blood lead level in numerous kids which might be the cause, minimum in part, for intellectual dysfunction with following poor scholastic accomplishment. To measure the exposure in different case studies the lead concentrations of total Pb can be measured in soil, the dissolved Pb present in surface waters, and the entire lead in available in residue can also be used to progress point approximations for sites with lead supposed to be related with the atmospheric deposition of lead, instead of with the non-air sources, for example, runoff from discarded storage loads. For exposure assessment in children populations, the concentrations of Pb in the soil can be estimated by using fate and transportation modelling grounded on EPA’s MPE procedure. The pilot stage of the exposure assessment is restricted to soil conduits for the different children case studies used for exposure assessment (Sampson, & Winter, 2018).

Safe levels 

There is no harmless level of the exposure of lead in kids, with lasting reductions in cognition recognized in kids with blood intensities as short as 5 micrograms each decilitre of Pb in the bloodstream. At that particular level, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention endorses assessment and intervention, though, all raised lead levels are an alarm (Pan, Lin, Zeng, Zhang, Dong, Yang, & Sheng, 2018). 

Strategy for the risk communication

Timely blood tests 

An essential originator to getting kids the interventions and upkeep they require is identifying the lead level in their bodies. Certain state well-being departments inspire health care workers to apply risk aspect screening surveys to identify kids at a increased risk of lead contact centred on housing and other situations, however one study establish that several of these surveys do a deprived job of expecting risk. It has also been identified that parents and clinicians are not continuously up to date with the newest CDC guidelines concerning harmful lead levels in the blood. For instance, some workers and laboratories still express parents that the results of blood lead test are normal if the levels are underneath 10 µg/dL. Additional, low levels of blood lead can have permanent effects deprived of any visible indications. Due to these causes, a blood test lead is the favoured way to control if a kid has been unprotected to lead.

Education and counselling 

Education is the essential strategy to spread awareness about the causes or sources of lead exposure. It is directly interconnected with having blood test for lead. Different researchers identified that Educating parents and children about the importance of lead blood tests and avoiding lead exposure is effective strategy. In the primary care office, prevention begins with education and counselling about reducing children’s exposure. Parents who used to live in old houses must be counselled to examine their homes for hazard associated with lead hazards so that the risks can be recognised and removed. 


Lead is the toxic chemical compound that naturally occurs or found in different places like earth crust. This particular toxic element affects people from all age group but mostly affect young children.  The children can be exposed to this toxic chemical from different sources like air, waters, food, dust, and soil. In this assessment report, the impact of lead poising, its assessment and strategy to address the lead-related issues are well discussed and examined. The children affected with lead poisoning may develop health issues like reduced IQ level, lack of concentration, and mental retardedness. This particular issue is more common in developing countries, which required process planning and population’s assessment. The environmental health risk assessment of lead in children includes some steps; planning, hazard identification among the specific population, dose response of lead among children, and exposure assessment. Although there are no safe levels of lead has been identified yet but limiting the exposure can help to prevent the lead poisoning issues. Conducting blood tests level among children d educating and counselling parents and children is the effective strategy. Both these strategies help individuals to avoid exposure to lead and timely reduction after identification.