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Water: Water Quality Standards Academy

Basic Course: Supplemental Topics - Health (b)

Historical Approach to Human Health Criteria Development: Overview

Human Health Ambient Water Quality Criteria

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Health effects for toxic substances have historically been divided into two categories based on the biological endpoints observed:

  • Nonthreshold effects. Carcinogenic effects that have some effects at all doses (i.e., lack a threshold) and demonstrate a linear response to dose.
  • Threshold effects. Noncancer effects that have a threshold and exhibit acute, subacute, or chronic toxicity.

In a few cases, taste and odor (organoleptic) data have been used to form the basis for nonregulatory human health criteria.


Learn More. Additional information on criteria that has been derived from organoleptic considerations. Proceed to the Learn More Topic. » Note: This link launches a pop-up window.

For informational purposes only–Not official statements of EPA policy.

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