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TitleHuman health risk assessments
DownloadDownload (whole publication)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorLongpré, D
SourcePresentations and recommendations from the workshop on the role of geochemical data in environmental and human health risk assessment, Halifax, 2010; by Rencz, A N (ed.); Kettles, I M (ed.); Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 6645, 2011 p. 10; 1 CD-ROM, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksCanadian Database of Geochemical Surveys, downloadable files
LinksBanque de données de levés géochimiques du Canada, fichiers téléchargeables
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
MeetingWorkshop on the role of geochemical data in environmental and human health risk assessment; Halifax; CA; March 17-18, 2010
Documentopen file
MediaCD-ROM; on-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Presentations and recommendations from the workshop on the role of geochemical data in environmental and human health risk assessment, Halifax, 2010
RelatedThis publication is related to North American soil geochemical landscapes project: Canadian field protocols for collecting mineral soils and measuring soil gas radon and natural radioactivity
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Nunavut; Canada
NTS1; 2; 3; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -50.0000 90.0000 41.7500
Subjectsgeochemistry; soils science; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Health and Safety; environmental analysis; environmental studies; environmental impacts; soil geochemistry; soils; soil studies; soil samples; soil properties; heavy metals contamination; pollution; pollutants; biogeochemistry; biogeochemical surveys; glacial deposits; tills; geochemical surveys; Human health; Cenozoic; Quaternary
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience
Released2011 01 01
AbstractBefore a site is considered contaminated, concentrations of chemicals, particularly natural elements, should be compared to data from local or regional surveys of background soil quality in uncontaminated areas, if data are available. On-site levels would be considered to be consistent with background where the maximum measured concentration of a COPC is less than or equal to a representative statistic for background concentration. If it is found that concentrations of Contaminants of Potential Concern (COPCs) at the site are representative of background levels, then the site may not be contaminated despite the fact that generic environmental quality guidelines are exceeded. In a human health risk assessment, if concentrations of a contaminant are within the range of local or regional background conditions, the contaminant should be excluded from further consideration as a COPC.
The concept of background concentrations of chemicals varies among jurisdictions. Potential background levels can be derived from data taken from control sites located close to, but outside the influence of the contaminated site, or may be based on more regional values. Whichever concept is employed, there is a need for a standardized approach to assessing the availability and appropriateness of data on background levels, or evaluating the need for sampling background concentrations at a reference site. CCME Soil Quality Guidelines - Human Health Many contaminants, particularly metals, are naturally occurring, and natural levels can exceed CCME soil quality guidelines and other generic guidelines without representing anthropogenic contamination. When setting national guidelines, the CCME derives guideline values by determining the tolerable or essentially negligible concentration of a contaminant above the background (natural) level (CCME, 2006). The CCME also recognizes that natural levels in soil vary spatially, and recommends that local soil quality objectives be established that incorporate local or regional background concentrations if they are significantly different from the background value used in the derivation of the national generic guideline for a particular contaminant (CCME, 1996).
In principle, for threshold contaminants, the total exposure from direct soil pathways should not generally exceed typical background soil exposures by more than 20% of the residual tolerable daily intake (RTDI), although >20% may be allotted under certain circumstances. If the chemical is identified as a non-threshold substance by Health Canada, then a guideline will be developed

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