Human Health Risk Assessment

Land contamination can affect the health of people living, working or just visiting a site. Undertaking a Human Health Risk Assessment is the recognized process to establish whether or not there is an unacceptable risk to health from human exposure to chemical contamination in soil. This assessment is typically undertaken as part of a Phase 2 Ground Investigation.

In accordance with the Environment Agency Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (CLEA) framework, BOLD Environmental uses the soil chemical results from samples retained during ground investigation and compares these against the following recognized concentration ‘trigger values’ for screening-out low risk areas of land contamination:

  • Soil Guideline Values (SGVs), published by the Environment Agency, and
  • Generic Assessment Criteria (GAC) for Human Health Risk Assessment, published by LQM / CIEH

SGVs are published for differing land use (residential, allotments and commercial) in recognition that different use of the land will affect an individual’s exposure to soil contamination.

As SGVs are available for a limited number of substances, BOLD Environmental also consults GAC values published by LQM / CIEH which cover an extended range of substances; which is an approach widely accepted by regulators.

Where SGV exceedance is identified, further assessment may be necessary to determine whether remediation is required.  Where this is the case, BOLD undertakes this further assessment by using the following Environment Agency software:

  • CLEA software (version 1.06)

The CLEA software enables derivation of site-specific soil assessment criteria by entering data on the characteristics of contaminants and people likely to be present on site giving a more detailed tier of assessment specific to the site.

 In summary, the Human Health Risk Assessment determines the potential risk to humans posed from exposure to contaminants present within the soil at the site. The outcome determines whether remediation is necessary and informs health and safety considerations for any subsequent investigative or construction work at the site.

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