Guidance for Evaluating Human Health Impacts in Environmental Assessment: Water Quality

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Organization: Health Canada

Date published: 2017-04-04

This document provides generic guidance on predicting health risks of water quality in federal environmental assessments (EAs) of proposed major resource and infrastructure projects (such as mines, dams, pipelines and other projects). It presents the principles, current practices and basic information Health Canada looks for when it reviews the environmental impact statement or other reports submitted by project proponents as part of the EA process.

The guidance is presented for the benefit of proponents and their consultants and to support an efficient and transparent project review process. The foundational information described here should be supplemented appropriately with additional information relevant to specific projects.

The guidance may also help responsible authorities, review panels and affected communities better understand how to conduct health assessments for proposed major resource projects. As part of its review, Health Canada may suggest that a responsible authority (RA), review panel or others collect information not specifically described here in order to assess the health effects of specific projects. As the guidance provided here is generic and designed to support EA under multiple jurisdictions, the scope of our review will also necessarily be amended according to specific jurisdictional requirements.

This document concerns the assessment of health risks associated with water quality. It contains information on Health Canada's role with respect to drinking and recreational water quality; steps in Health Canada's preferred approach to human health risk assessment (HHRA) and assessing water quality-related health effects; and assessing cumulative effects.

Appendix A contains a checklist that can be used to verfiy that the main components of a water quality assessment are complete and to show where this information can be found within an EA document.

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