Assessing individual or community risk from environmental pollution is complex and requires consideration of chemical and non-chemical stressors, community priorities and values, and numerous other factors. This framework document is intended to serve as an information and awareness resource for the development of environmental health assessment tools. It draws from an exhaustive review of scholarly and grey literature from varied disciplines (e.g., environmental pollution, nutrition, social sciences, health and public health promotion), and from consultations with subject-matter experts and stakeholders from the three North American countries.
The factors that need to be considered in characterizing the vulnerability of an individual or community to the health consequences posed by environmental pollution are here grouped under four key properties of vulnerability: the degree of exposure to pollutants; the individual’s susceptibility to the harmful effects of the pollution; and an individual’s or community’s level of preparedness and responsiveness (the capacity to cope with and mitigate the risks associated with these environmental contaminants).
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