Progress in the Development of Environmental Risk Assessment as a Tool for the Decision-Making Process


Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) is a powerful technical and analytical set of instruments for analyzing adverse environmental impacts, and has found some application in supporting the decision-making process over the last two decades. In this paper, the progress of ERA, including history, types, approaches and methods, are introduced, and the current problems and development prospects of ERAs for decision-making processes are discussed.

Share and Cite:

Wu, K. and Zhang, L. (2014) Progress in the Development of Environmental Risk Assessment as a Tool for the Decision-Making Process. Journal of Service Science and Management, 7, 131-143. doi: 10.4236/jssm.2014.72011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] USEPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) (2003) Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
[2] USNRC (US National Research Council) (2009) Science and Decision: Advancing Risk Assessment. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
[3] Meng, M. (2009) Research on the Misplay in Environmental Decision-Making. Master’s Dissertation, Xiamen University, Xiamen.
[4] Zhao, D.Z., Liu, J. and Wu, H. (2012) The Initial Analysis of Lane Sedimentation Caused by Typhoon in the Yangtze River. Sedimentation Research, 46, 96-101. (in Chinese)
[5] Eduljee, G.H. (2000) Trends in Risk Assessment and Risk Management. The Science of Total Environment, 249, 13-23.
[6] Paustenbach, D. (1989) A Survey of Health Risk Assessment. In: Paustenbach, D., Ed., The Risk Assessment of Environmental and Human Health Hazard: A Text Book of Case Studies, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 283-301.
[7] Paustenbach, D. (1995) The Practice of Health Risk Assessment in the United State 1975-1995: How the US and Other Countries Can Benefit from the Experience. Human and Ecology Risk Assessment, 3,
[8] Wu, K. and Zhang, L.P. (2011) Review on Environmental Risk Assessment in Decision-Making. Environmental Science and Management, 11, 178-183. (in Chinese)
[9] PCCRARM (The Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management) (1997) Risk Assessment and Risk Management in Regulatory Decision-Making. National Academy Press, Washington
[10] IMO (International Maritime Organization) (2002) Guidelines for Formal Safety Assessment for Use in the IMO Rule-Making Process. CPI Books, London.
[11] Khadam, I.M. and Kaluarachichi, J.J. (2003) Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis with Probabilistic Risk Assessment for the Management of Contaminated Ground Water. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 23,
[12] Linkov, I., Kiker, G., Satterstrom, F., Batchlor, C., Bridges, C. and Ferguson, E. (2006) From Comparative Risk Assessment to Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis and Adaptive Management: Recent Developments and Applications. Environment International, 32, 1072-1093.
[13] USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers) (2010) Risk Assessment Handbook (Volume II): Environmental Evaluation. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
[14] Topuz, E., Talinali, I. and Aydin, E. (2011) Integration of Environmental and Human Health Risk Assessment for Industries Using Hazardous Materials: A Quantitative Multi Criteria Approach for Environmental Decision Makers. Environment International, 37, 393-403.
[15] Wu, K. (2012) Environmental Risk Assessment of Strategic Decision-Making in Coastal Area. Doctoral Dissertation, Xiamen University, Xiamen.
[16] Mao, X.L. and Liu, Y.S. (2003) Current Progress of Environmental Risk Assessment Research. Journal of Basic Science and Engineering, 11, 266-273. (in Chinese)
[17] Xu, X.G., Lin, H.P. and Fu, Z.Y. (2001) Regional Ecological Risk Assessment of Wetland in the Huanghe River Delta. Acta Scicentiarum Naturalum Universitis Pekinesis, 37, 111-120.
[18] USNRC (US National Research Council) (1983) Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process. Washington DC.
[19] USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) (1992) Guidelines for Exposure Assessment. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
[20] Health Council of the Netherlands (1995) Not All Risks Are Equal. Report No. 1995 06E, Committee on Risk Measures and Risk Assessment, Hague.
[21] World Health Organization (WHO) (2004) IPCS Risk Assessment Terminology. WHO, Geneva.
[22] SA/SNZ (Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand) (2004) Risk Management Guidelines: Companion to AS/NZS 4360. New South Wales, Wellington.
[23] UKDOE (UK Department of the Environment) (1995) A Guide to Risk Assessment and Risk Management for Environmental Protection. Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.
[24] USNRC (US National Research Council) (1975) A Guide to the Performance of Probabilistic Risk Assessment for Nuclear Power Plant. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
[25] Peters1, R.G., Covello1, V.T. and McCallum, D.B. (1997) The Determinants of Trust and Credibility in Environmental Risk Communication: An Empirical Study. Risk Analysis, 17, 43-54. br/
[26] Wessberg, N., Molarius R., Seppala, J., Koskela, S. and Pennanen, J. (2008) Environmental Risk Analysis for Accidental Emission. Journal of Chemical Health Safety, 15, 24-31.
[27] Markus, J. and McBratney, A.B. (2001) A Review of the Contamination of Soil with Spatial Distribution and Risk Assessment of Soil Lead: II. Spatial Distribution and Risk Assessment of Soil Lead. Environmental International, 27, 399-411.
[28] Winter, C.L. and Daniels, M. (2008) A Reduced Complexity Model for Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Groundwater Contamination. Water Resource Research, 44, 231-245.
[29] Xu, H. (2004) Oil Spills Risk Assessment in the Sea—the Application in the Pearl River Estuary. Master’s Dissertation, Department of Environment Science, Zhongshan University, Zhongshan.
[30] Merrick, J.R. and Van Dorp, R. (2006) Speaking the Truth in Maritime Risk Assessment. Risk Analysis, 26, 223-237. br/
[31] USNRC (U.S. National Research Council) (2008) Risk of Vessel Accidents and Spills in the Aleutian Islands: Designing a Comprehensive Risk Assessment. Repot No. 2008033069 (Special Report 293), National Academy Press, Washington DC.
[32] Zhou, Y.K. (1995) Study on Natural Disaster Risk Assessment. Journal of Natural Disasters, 4, 6-11. (in Chinese)
[33] ITC (International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation) (2009) Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment. Bangkok University Press, Bangkok.
[34] Yang, X.S. and Xie, B. (2000) Approach to Methods of Regional Environmental Risk Assessment. Mining & Metallurgy, 3, 107-110. (in Chinese)
[35] Calamari, D. and Zhang, L.P. (2002) Environmental Risk Assessment of Pesticides on Aquatic Life in Xiamen, China. Toxicology Letters, 128, 45-53.
[36] Xu, L. and Liu, G. (2009) The Study of a Method of Regional Environmental Risk Assessment. Journal of Environment Management, 90, 3290-3296.
[37] Sorvari, J. and Seppala, J. (2010) A Decision Support Tool to Prioritize Risk Management Options for Contaminated Sites.Science of Total Environment, 408, 1786-1799.
[38] Ge, Q.S., Zou, M. and Zheng, J.Y. (2008) Comprehensive Risk Evaluation of Natural Disaster in China. Science Press, Beijing.
[39] Van Drop, J.R., Merrick, J.R., Harrald, J., Mazzuchi1, T.A. and Grabowski, M. (2001) A Risk Management Procedure for the Washington State Ferries. Risk Analysis, 21, 127-142.
[40] Merrick, J.R., Van Dorp, J.R., Blackford, J.P., et al. (2003) A Traffic Density Analysis of Proposed Ferry Service Expansion in San Francisco Bay Using a Maritime Simulation Model. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 81, 119-132.
[41] Zhang, L.J., Liu, M. and Quan, R. (2010) Characteristics and Disaster Evaluation of Tropical Cyclone in Southeast Coastal Areas of China. Journal of East China Normal University (Natural Science), 3, 41-49. (in Chinese)
[42] Kepner, W.G., Semmens, D.J., Bassett, S.D., Mouat, D.A. and Goodrich, D.C. (2004) Scenario Analysis for the San Pedro River, Analyzing Hydrological Consequences of a Future Environment. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 94, 115-127.
[43] Duinker, P.N. and Greig, L.A. (2007) Scenario Analysis in Environmental Impact Assessment: Improving Explorations of the Future. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 27, 206-219.
[44] Zhao, L.H., Sun, Z.Q. and Lin, J.L. (2004) The Event-Tree Analysis of Static Explosion in Oil Depot. Journal of Jianghan Petroleum Institute, 26, 132-133.
[45] Zhang, L.P., Jiang, Y., Chen, W.Q., Wan, Z. and Hu, J. (2009) Study on Digifax and the Environment of Bays in Fujian Province-Xiamen Bay. China Ocean Press, Beijing.
[46] Ricci, P.F. (2006) Environmental and Health Risk Assessment and Management. Springer Press, Berlin.
[47] Andrews, C.J. (2002) Humble Analysis: The Practice of Joint Fact-Finding. CT Praeger, Westport.
[48] Wang, J., Pan, W.R. and Zhang, G. (2009) Marine Oil Spill Risk Analysis and Evaluation in Xiamen Bay. Journal of Oceanography in Taiwan Strait, 28, 534-539. (in Chinese)
[49] Yan, C. and Ma, L. (2011) Grey Fuzzy Comprehensive Assessment to the Risk of Oil Spillage from Ships in Inland Waterway. Ship Science and Technology, 8, 906-912. (in Chinese)
[50] Johnkman, S.N. (2007) Loss of Life Estimation in Flood Risk Assessment Theory and Application. Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Environment & Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft.
[51] Ye, J.Y, Lin, G.F. and Zhang, M.F. (2009) GIS-Based Study of Natural Disaster Vulnerability for Xiamen City. Journal of Natural Disaster, 3, 12-32.
[52] Lin, Z.F. (2007) Environmental Risk Assessment of Natural Disaster with Coastal Engineering. Master’s Dissertation, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen.
[53] Sun, X.J., Zhang, S.H. and Wei, L.M. (2009) Risk Assessment of Oils Spills Form Vessel in Bohai Bay. Shipping Management, 4, 32-37.
[54] Wang, Z.X. (2007) The Theories, Methods and Applications of Environmental Risk Assessment on Regional Planning. Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai.
[55] Das, A., Gupta, A.K. and Mazumder, TN. (2012) A Comprehensive Framework for Offsite Transportation of Inflammable Hazardous Waste. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 227-228,
[56] Xue, Y., Wang, R.H. and Zhang, H.Z. (2008) Ecological Risk Assessment in Tarim Basin. Research on Arid Region, 25, 562-567. (in Chinese)
[57] WBGU (German Advisory Council on Global Change) (2000) World in Transition: Strategies for Managing Global Environmental Risk. Springer, Berlin.
[58] Konisky, D. (1999) Comparative Risk Projects: Methodology for Cross-Project Analysis of Human Health Risk Rankings. RFF Press, Washington DC.
[59] Linkov, I. and Ramadan, A. (2002) Comparative Risk Assessment and Environmental Decision Making. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherland.
[60] Baker, D., Bridges, D. and Hunter, W. (2002) Guidebook to Decision-Making Methods. Developed for the Department of Energy, Washington DC.
[61] Power, M. and McCarly, L.S. (2000) Risk-Cost Trade-Off in Environmental Risk Management Decision-Making. Environmental Science & Policy, 3, 31-38.
[62] Finney, M.A. (2005) The Challenge of Quantitative Risk Analysis for Wildland Fire. Forest Ecology and Management, 211, 97-108.
[63] Linkov, I. and Kiker, G. (2009) Environmental Security in Habors and Coastal Areas: Management Using Comparative Risk Assessment and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis. Springer, Berlin.
[64] Gallego, E., Jiménez, A., Mateos, A., Sazykina, T. and Ríos-Insua, S. (2004) Application of Multi-Attribute Analysis (MAA) to Search for Optimum Remedial Strategies for Contaminated Lakes with the MOIRA System. Proceedings of 11th Annual Meeting of the International Radiation Protection Association, Madrid, 23-28 May 2004, 1353-1367.
[65] Parnell, G.S., Frimpon, M., Barnes, J., Kloebe, J.M., Deckro, R.F. and Jackson, J.A. (2001) Safety Risk Analysis of An innovative Environmental Technology. Risk Analysis, 21,
[66] Wakeman, J.B. (2003) Decision Analysis Based upon Implement Ability of the Action Alternatives at Milltown Dam. 4 Apr, Email to Igor Linkov.
[67] Prato, T. (2003) Multiple Attribute Evaluation of Ecosystem Management for the Missouri River. Ecological Economy, 45, 297-309.
[68] Apostolakis, G.E. (2001) Expert Judgment Resolution in Technically-Intensive Policy Disputes. In: Linkov, I. and Palma-Oliveira, J., Eds., Assessment and Management of Environmental Risks: Cost-Efficient Methods and Applications, Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Workshop Boston, 211-220.
[69] Chen, Z., Li, H., Ren, H., Qian, X. and Ju, H. (2011) A Total Environmental Risk Assessment Model for International Hub Airports. International Journal of Project Management, 29, 856-866. br/
[70] Ganoulis, J. (2004) Evaluating Alternative Strategies for Wastewater Recycling and Reuse in the Mediterranean Area. Water Science and Technology, 3, 11-19.
[71] Klauer, B., Drechsler, M. and Messner, F. (2009) Multi-Criteria Analysis More under Uncertainty with IANUS—Method and Empirical Results. Leipzig, Germany.
[72] Schwenk, C.R. (1995) Strategic Decision-Making. Journal of Management, 21, 471-493. br/
[73] Yin, S.H. (2010) Principles of Management. Peking University Press, China Agriculture University Press, Beijing.
[74] Nilsson M. and Dalkmann, H. (2001) Decision Making and Strategic Environmental Assessment. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 3,
[75] Fischer, T.B. (2003) Strategic Environmental Assessment in Post-Modern Times. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 23, 155-170.
[76] Fischer, T.B. and Onyango, V. (2010) Strategic Environmental Assessment-Related Research Projects and Journal Articles: An Overview of the Past 20 Years. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 30,

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.