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Water: Microbial

Thesaurus of Terms Used in Microbial Risk Assessment - Chapter Four: How to Use this Thesaurus

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This Thesaurus is a selection of microbiological risk assessment related terms and definitions collected and compiled from over 50 glossaries, lists of terms and definitions, and publications that were used as primary sources, and draft EPA documents.  For the most part, the terms and definitions are presented exactly as they are worded in the primary sources, with minor adjustments to reflect agreement among several definitions as to singular versus plural definitions (e.g., source versus sources) and consistent use of hyphenation, grammar tense, and American English spelling.  In very limited cases, lengthy definitions were shortened by the removal of extraneous clauses and phrases (e.g., parenthetical examples of the use of a term) that were deemed as unnecessary, irrelevant, or confusing.

The terms in this Thesaurus are organized into 14 categories.  The different categories are to help place the terms into context within the MRA Framework and to group terms used in different risk assessment fields.  Some terms fit in more than one category.  These terms are presented in the most relevant category (our determionation) and when a strong case can be made for their inclusion in another category, they are cross-referenced in that section.  The categories include:

General and Framework –terms are related to how the risk assessment process is conceptualized through frameworks.  General terms that are not frequently associated with one particular step in the risk assessment process are also included.

Problem Formulation –terms are related to the problem formulation process, but may also be relevant to other steps in risk assessment

Pathogen Characterization or Infectious Disease Hazard Characterization –general microbiology terms, terms used in pathogen characterization

Hazard Occurrence (Pathogen Occurrence) - terms used to describe occurrence of microbes in the environment, terms relevant to environmental sampling and analysis

Exposure – terms related to exposure, includes some terms related to dose

Host Characterization and Health Effects– terms used in describing the effected populations, including both individual and population characteristics, such as sensitive subpopulations, terms used to characterize the health effects

Epidemiology and Surveillance – term related to epidemiological studies and clinical terms important for epidemiology, terms related to disease surveillance

Dose-Response – terms related to dose-response, some overlap with exposure

Modeling, Statistics, Math – terms used in quantitative modeling, statistics, general math, and uncertainty and sensitivity analysis

Risk Characterization, Risk Management, and Policy – terms used in risk characterization, terms important for risk management and policy

Economic – terms used in cost-benefit analysis or terms related to monetary valuation (Terms in this category are not exhaustively presented. Only terms of general interest are included.)

Chemical – terms that are used primarily or exclusively in chemical risk assessment (Terms in this category are not exhaustively presented.)

Ecological – terms used primarily or exclusively in ecological risk assessments (Terms in this category are not exhaustively presented.)

EPA – terms that are used primarily by EPA and have specific context within EPA

For each term, definitions from EPA documents are presented first, followed by additional source definitions in alphabetical order by source.  Acronyms and abbreviations are included where appropriate.  The order in which the definitions are presented (alphabetical) within each category should not be construed to imply any order of importance or prefrence.  In some cases, a definition includes the use of an additional, “secondary” reference.  To the extent appropriate, small differences in language for similar definitions are preserved.

Closely related terms are linked by the “Related Terms” field.  This field also includes select terms that have definitions that distinguish them in particular from a contrasting term, as indicated by “contrast with (the relevant term).”  Although this Thesaurus makes extensive use of related and contrasting term linking, such linking should not be construed as comprehensive or exhaustive.  Related terms are hyperlinked within the document (indicated by blue underlining) to facilitate cross-referencing.

To look up a term, go to the alphabetical index at the end.  Both the term and the page number are hyperlinked to the location of the term, so you can jump directly to the term.  The category titles are included in the header on each page so you can easily determine the category under which the term is filed.

For some terms, a comment has been included to point out differences and similarities in the term definitions.  Comments are presented in italics after the term.  Terms that have multiple and/or contrasting definitions that could cause confusion or are commonly used in different contexts were presented with further discussion in Chapter 2.

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