Our Services (2)


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Human Health Ecological Risk Assessment:

  • ERA staff have performed multiple human health and risk assessments in support of: Litigation, Property Transfer, Site Evaluations, Environmental Impact Statements and Public Relations Efforts.  
  • ERA has conducted studies in collaboration with key government regulatory agencies including the Hawaii Department of Health, USNavy, USACE and the USAF, City and County of Honolulu, County of Hawaii and the Guam EPA.  ERA currently employs the only Ph.D. toxicologist in working in the private sector in the State of Hawaii.
  • Analysis of human health or environmental risk is generally used to support remedial action by providing “target remediation goals,” that is, residual concentrations of chemicals that may be left in place when remediation is complete.  Judicious use of this approach can facilitate cost-effective remediation for protection of both human health and the environment.
  • ERA staff has a strong track record of successfully obtaining regulatory agency approval of reasonable risk-based remediation goals.  By doing so, we are able to bypass standard conservative approaches, such as removal of “all contamination” (which implicitly sets a target remediation goal at an analytical detection limit), or reduction of concentrations to background levels.
 
ERA employs several strategies to deliver high-value risk assessment products:
  • Strategic Planning Saves Time:
  • Risk assessment specialists are involved in project planning from the outset.  This ensures the acquisition of adequate data for risk assessment purposes, without the need for additional investigations.  An additional advantage of this approach is that remediation experts are able to focus on aspects of the site most important to protecting human health or the environment.
  • Good Science Saves Money:
  • Complete, focused data collection early in the investigation minimizes the need for overly conservative assumptions typical of the standard risk assessment process.  This results in more accurate risk estimates and typically translates to lowered risk management costs.
  • Strict Quality Control Is a Continuous Process:
  • All risk assessment computations and reports generated by ERA are internally peer-reviewed to verify the accuracy of the approach, the data and the calculations.  This ensures the technical approach is credible and consistent and the findings are reported clearly and effectively.



 Toxicological Studies: 

ERA has performed a significant amount of toxicological review, in particular, on arsenic, dioxins/furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated solvents, methyl mercury, chromium, lead and radioisotopes.  In many cases, our work has compelled researchers and regulators to reevaluate their analyses, conduct additional studies, or allow practical permit limits.
  
 


 
Risk-Based Site Investigations: 


Our hazardous waste, risk assessment and environmental management staff have conducted numerous site investigations, risk assessments, and risk management plans. ERA's site investigation approach is strongly focused on the risk assessment process. This includes identifying where a more complex investigation will be of advantage to a client and, equally important, when it will not. We have used our risk-based approach to successfully negotiate with regulatory agencies and save our clients money and time in the remediation process.


 Agency Negotiation: 

Our risk assessments are technically sound and strategically focused, so we are able to successfully defend them during agency negotiations.  In fact, our experiences with agency protocol and knowledge of regulatory background have allowed us to save our clients millions of dollars during agency negotiations.




Human Health Risk Assessment:
  • ERA staff has conducted human health risk assessments throughout the United States and Pacific, evaluating the potential risks associated with all the major classes of chemicals and ranging in complexity from screening level to multi-chemical, multi-pathway risk assessments.  
  • We have conducted human health risk assessments under a broad range of regulatory regimes, including Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and numerous state and provincial environmental programs (Hawaii, California, Oregon, Massachusetts). 
  • We have been successful in bringing new techniques to human health risk assessment.  Examples of such techniques include the use of geostatistical methods to estimate exposure concentrations, derivation of site-specific bioavailability factors and development of microexposure event modeling



    



                                                                              

 Bioavailability Testing: 

Generic assumptions concerning the rate of absorption of chemical compounds in humans and aquatic or terrestrial animals are frequently substantial overestimates, particularly in the case of compounds such as dioxins, which bind avidly to sediment and soil.  ERA has substantial experience managing laboratory assessments of mammalian bioavailability and in deriving site-specific sediment-to-biota uptake factors from field data and has used these to demonstrate vastly reduced exposures in many cases.  For example, we recently showed that PCBs in a wetlands system exhibited significantly reduced bioavailability (from the presence of accumulated organic material), which resulted in lower estimated risks for the key ecologically relevant upper trophic level receptors that were evaluated.  
 


 Litigation Support: 

In the event of a lawsuit, a successful defense requires sound advice and the power of a credible witness.  ERA staff has authored publications in scientific journals, conferences, and books.  Because we understand the science, the methodologies, and the regulations, our risk assessors have successfully defended their assessments on behalf of our clients in numerous administrative and judicial settings. This is especially true for certain contaminants in sediment. Because, for example, PCBs, PAHs and certain metals in sediments have been thoroughly investigated, the factors that mitigate their effects (e.g., organic carbon or acid-volatile sulfides) are known.  ERA’s extensive experience at PCB, PAH, and metal-contaminated sites ensures that we can anticipate the likely outcomes and also know how to focus the approaches required to achieve these outcomes.

 Risk Communication and Community  Relations: 

Public interest in environmental issues has increased over the past decade and EPA has responded by mandating public communication requirements into new legislation.  Addressing community concerns is more than a public relations exercise; it is recognition of the role your facility has in the community and acknowledgment of the rights of nearby residents, businesses, and officials to understand how you keep them safe.  ERA can provide specialized assistance in communicating your environmental messages.  We have developed programs to facilitate permitting, respond to public concerns, manage an accidental release, and build support for controversial projects

                               

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