Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 221–226 | Cite as

A GIS-based approach for the long-term prediction of human health risks at contaminated sites

  • J. D. Bień
  • J. ter Meer
  • W. H. Rulkens
  • H. H. M. Rijnaarts


A Health Index/Risk Evaluation Tool (HIRET) has been developed for the integration of risk assessment and spatial planning using GIS capabilities. The method is meant to assist decision makers and site owners in the evaluation of potential human health risk with respect to land use. Human health risk defined as the potential adverse effects on human life or health is generally accepted as the most important aspect for site assessment and planning of remediation strategies. It concerns polluted sites that endanger human health on one hand and derelict land that does not cause the immediate risk on the other hand. In current state-of-the-art risk-assessment, long-term spatial and temporal changes of risks, in relation to changes in contamination patterns and land use functions, are not taken into account. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the methodology developed for human health risk assessment in aspect of spatial and temporal domain. HIRET was developed as an extension for ESRI software ArcView 3.2 and allows performing dynamic human health risk assessment in long-term period, which is relevant for land use planning. The paper illustrates how such methodology can assist in environmental decision-making to enhance the efficiency of contaminated land management. A case study of contaminated site is given showing how data can be used within a GIS framework to produce maps indicating areas of potential human health risk.


contaminated site human health risk exposure pathways HIRET land use long-term redevelopment natural attenuation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Bień
    • 1
  • J. ter Meer
    • 1
  • W. H. Rulkens
    • 2
  • H. H. M. Rijnaarts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environemntal Biotechnology, TNO Milieu, Energie en ProcesinnovatieApeldoornThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Faculty of Environmental TechnologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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