Protecting Native Americans through the risk assessment process: A commentary on "an examination of U.S. EPA risk assessment principles and practices"

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Publication Date: 
Friday, August 23, 2013
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In Bridgens 2005 article, she complains that the EPA’s decision not to protect subgroups of Native American populations such as those who rely upon subsistence and cultural practices, is not considered under the current risk assessment process (USEPA 2004) and that this puts them at greater risk than necessary and is a breach of duty, duties that the EPA is sworn to accomplish. While she agrees with the EPA’s operating procedure of conservatism, that if everyone was made as safe as possible at every given time, industry and that commerce would be ground to a screeching halt, Bridgens argues that the EPA is being far too conservative with Native American populations whose exposure to environmental damage of fish, air, water and so forth is a result of their lifestyle and their culture and uniquely greater than average Americans and should be accounted for. Her position (Bridgen 2005) the U.S. EPA should be encouraged to develop guidance that (1) establishes a process to investigate and identify when contamination on or off tribal lands may impact Native Americans, (2) develops adequate default assumptions for use in exposure assessments where site-specific data are absent, (3) enhances cooperation with tribal governments and tribal members to ensure that adequate protective measures are implemented, and (4) en- sures that risk assessments provide appropriate protection of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and plant populations that, in turn, protect tribal subsistence and cultural practices. In summary Bridgens shows that the EPA needs to account for NA needs in its research. Conclusion: The researcher would not learn much from this article. It is an opinion piece. Summary is enough above.