Community Engagement Ir ¦ tive
Office of Solid Waste and Emek ;enc . Response
Action 11- Evaluate Risk Cf mmun'cation Pk messes
and Develop a Comprehensk Edif ation Prc jram
Workgroup Report on ^ftRecl mendations
rl o Draft Da: :: August 22, 2012

August 22, 2012
The contents of this Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) Action 11 Recommendation Report
are as follows:
This section will overview of CEI and Action Item #11, present the charge of the workgroup, and
summarize the document in one paragraph.
This section will detail how the Action 11 Workgroup approached its charge, including information
on these particular activities:
•	Researching risk communication processes and methods
•	Exploring frequently asked questions (FAQs) and stakeholder concerns pertaining to "risk"
•	Coordinating with other CEI actions
The Findings section will summarize the conclusions reached In the Action 11 Workgroup related
to the following topics:
•	Risk communication processes an^ methods (definition and principles)
•	Frequently asked questions (FAQs, fining to "risk"
•	Catalogue of risk communication tra. mik *"ses
Draft Recommendations
In the Draft Recommendati'" -lion, the Work ,up describ what steps should be taken to
improve OSWER's risk jinmui. :on strategy U sed on the rindings from workgroup meetings.
The draft recommend ">s are gro ;d in the folio 'ing three categories:
•	Identify elements *ood "r k" communicat j
•	Develop answers foi 9
•	Design an OSWT.R con. 'iensi\ e i ¦.nmunication education program
Nexl Steps for the Workgroup
This section will outline the next steps . the Workgroup in order to implement the
recommendations for a revised risk communication strategy.
Appendix I: Annotated Bibliography
Appendix II: Draft Risk Communication Glossary
Appendix III: Frequently Asked Questions
Appendix IV: CEI Action 11 National Workgroup
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August 22, 2012
In December 2009, EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) introduced
the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI). OSWER further defined the CEI through the
Community Engagement Initiative Implementation Plan 1.0 (May 2010) and the Community
Engagement Initiative Progress Report (September 2011) which identified specific actions that
OSWER and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance (OECA) program offices will
implement to achieve the goals and objectives of the CEI. Under this Implementation Plan, four
Actions Items called to form national workgroups to explore recommendations to improve, expand,
or coordinate existing OSWER processes.
A CEI Action 11 National Workgroup was formed in August 201 1 to de\ chip an OSWER-
wide/regional strategy to enhance processes and methods for communicating and explaining risks to
affected communities and the general public and to design " omprehensive risk communication
education program. Accordingly, this Workgroup was t" .
August 22, 2012
The CEI Action 11 National Workgroup identified several areas of additional research needed
before draft recommendations could be developed. This included the identification of existing
documents and resources that could be used to inform the development of "good" risk
communication principles and a comprehensive risk communication education program.
Researching risk communication processes, methods, and training
Several tools were assembled or adapted for this purpose:
•	A list of risk communication publications useful for government officials - This list was
compiled by the National Program Manager for the Superfund Community Involvement
University (CIU)1 in consultation with a number of EPA staff and CIU subcontractors with
experience in risk communication to support a "Superfund Risk Communication" training
•	An annotated bibliography of risk and risk communication publications - This annotated
bibliography was shared with the Workgroup and the Community Engagement Network
(CEN) to identify any "gaps" in useful publications on risk communication.
•	A list of risk communication training courses pro\ ided In OSWER training programs - This
list was adapted from the CEI Action 14's list of community engagement training courses.
Exploring frequently asked questions (1\ I Os) and stakeholder concerns pertaining
to "risk"
In order to begin the conversation about risk, the Action I 1 Workgroup identified common risk
communication concerns encountered by all or a majority of the OSWER program offices.
Workgroup members agreed that there are many common concerns and questions related to "risk"
that are difficult to address in a clear, concise and meaningful way, especially given diverse affected
audiences. Workgroup members were asked to share the risk related questions that they and their
project teams have encountered while doing their work. This list of questions was shared with the
Community Engagement Network (CEN), and CEN members were asked to identify any additional
questions. CEN members pro\ ided lour questions, which are included in Appendix IIII (questions
60 Ihi'ouuh ).
Coordinating with other CEI actions
Members of the W orkgroup u ho have also been involved in workgroups for other CEI Actions
identified ways thai these Actions can be incorporated into a successful risk communication
Action 12: Color Coding Pilots
CEI Action 12, "Improving Communication of Sampling and Testing Results," sought to improve
communication with the public on contaminant levels in Superfund response actions. A color coded
scale was developed to better communicate sampling results and the implication for affected
1 The Superfund Community Involvement University (CIU) is a portfolio of classroom training courses to support
Superfund staff in developing necessary skills, techniques, and practices to engage the community in the Superfund
processes. Most of these training courses are developed and managed through an EPA contract.
Action 11 - DRAFT Workgroup Recommendations Report

August 22, 2012
communities, and the scale was piloted at a number of removal and remedial response actions
across the country. CEI Action 12 reported that results from the color coding pilot project were
mixed due primarily to site-specific conditions. The report concludes: "Regions should be given the
flexibility to determine whether site-specific conditions make Color Coding the appropriate
communication method to use, so that this is a tool to be used when the fit is best." The Action 11
Workgroup agrees while color coding is not a one-size-fits-all solution for communicating risk, its
use could be beneficial in certain circumstances as one of EPA's tools for communicating risk more
Action 14: Community Engagement Training Program
The Action 14 Workgroup on community engagement training has identified core competencies and
key principles of community engagement that are essential for training The Action 14 planning
team is currently evaluating resources and processes to trair 3SWER stall"dm the identified
community engagement core competencies. The Action ' . Workgroup could utilize similar
resources and processes to develop and deliver risk co .munication training to OSWER staff.
Participating in the CEI Community Engagement Netwo,
Members of the "beta test" of the Community Engagement -ili ve (CEN) were asked to comment
on the compiled list of risk related questions and the announce, biography of publications related
to risk and risk communication. Their suggestions were added to e from the Workgroup.
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August 22, 2012
Risk communication processes and methods (definition and principles)
Risk and risk communication has been characterized by various processes, principles and
definitions both within the Agency and external organizations. The annotated bibliography in
Appendix I was developed to give a brief summary of some of the major risk and risk
communication publications useful for governmental agencies. The annotated bibliography includes
the target audience and a URL link for the publication. The definitions of "risk communication"
which emerged from the publications in the annotated bibliography are r\r -ompletely appropriate
for OSWER's cleanup work. Revisions would need to be made in orde ,or them to be widely
applicable to all of OSWER program offices yet specific enough to' "seful.
Principally, the Workgroup used the following definition for Ki. ; Comir. '<'sition to guide its
An interactive process of exchange of informal o. d opinic s among
individuals, groups, and institutions, with the goal o. 'nil1 people
make more informed decisions. Risk communication m. ¦! take into
account stakeholders perceptions abet the nature of the i, ' ¦ c., their
concerns, opinions, or reactions to the x ^nd the legal ano
institutional methods and policies for rL 1.. -incut.
Frequently asked qr stions x AQs) pertaining to "risk"
A need was discover . • a way tc ?tter address c mm on questions that are repeatedly asked by
NGO's, the media, local a "tate v • em incuts and t people living in communities where
cleanups are taking place, a l r .	-"M bp very valuable in helping OSWER staff to
answer quesf:	rten hav ^ry nuances . a technical answers that are difficult to grasp,
particular' for the ue,. public t 'Ued by a contaminated site.
Some 01 concerns covert n the F/ /s include:
•	Legal C -i ns
•	Sampling	'lodology
•	Contaminatio. "^ects on .eal Estate Value
•	Risk Assessmen. nlv -•ology
•	Health Concerns
•	Suggested Actions ^e.g., "Should I drink the water?")
•	Clean-up and Funding Concerns
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August 22, 2012
Risk communication training courses
The list of risk communication courses that have been provided by OSWER training programs:
"Risk Communication" - a 2.5-day training course is contracted by Fulton Communications,
which focuses on developing risk communication messages and determining effective methods
and tools to convey these messages. This training course is delivered through the Superfund
Community Involvement University (CIU). Click here for the course description.
"Public Involvement and Risk: How to Communicate, Listen, and Work with our Public"
- a 3-day training course taught by Alvin Chun (contractor) and EPA Region 9's Arnold Den
(retired), which provide insights and strategies for establishing trusting working relationships
with communities and other interest groups. This training course has been delivered through the
Superfund Community Involvement University (CIU). Click here for the course description.
•	"Risk and Decision Making" - a 2-day training course taught by EPA Region 9's Arnold Den
(retired) which provides an overview of the principles, policies, and limitations of the chronic
human health risk assessment process used by EPA. lor a non-technical audience. This training
course has been delivered through the Superfund Commiinily Involvement University (CIU).
Click here for the course description.
•	"Effective Crisis Communication for Kn\ ironmental Emergency" - a 1-day training course
taught by EPA staff Jessica Wieder, Radiation Protection Division, which provides an overview
of the principles and techniques of risk communication, with a focus on developing and
delivering effective messages. The course content is hascd on risk communication theory and
principles developed by Dr. Vince Covello under an EPA Contract, exemplified in a "pocket
guidebook." This training course has been delivered at OSC Readiness and through the CIU.
Click here for the course description.
Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Kisk Communication Skills - a V2-day or 1-day training
course taught by Dr Vince Co\ clliv u hicli prepares participants to communicate effectively
with diverse audiences using risk communication strategies and techniques. This training
course has been deli\ ered at the National Community Involvement Conference and through the
CH Click here for the course description.
Introduction (o Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund (RAGS) - a 2.5-day training
course, which provides participants with the fundamentals of risk assessment as applied to the
Superfund cleanup process. This training course is delivered through the EPA Environmental
Response Training Program (ERTP). Click here for the course description.
Risk Communication for Superfund: Messaging to Build Trust and Understanding - a 2V2-
day training course taught by EPA regional risk assessors, prepares participants to communicate
Superfund-specific messages with communities affected by Superfund sites. The training builds
on risk perception research, communication techniques of "message mapping," and risk
communication planning. The course content addresses a few Superfund-specific risk questions
and explores how to plan for risk communication. This training course has been delivered in a
pilot version in Region 9; a 4-hour version of the training course was also piloted at the 2011
National Community Involvement Conference. Click here for the course description.
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August 22, 2012
Consistent with the CEI Action 11 National Workgroup's approach, the draft recommendations
described in this report take a comprehensive approach to fostering risk communication
competencies within the headquarters and regional OSWER workforce. The draft recommendations
can either be addressed separately or moved forward together.
Develop an OSWER Risk Communication "Tips" Document
1.	Develop a core set of principles for good risk communication that reflect the Seven Cardinal
Rules of Risk Communication (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, OPA-87-020,
April 1988) which include the following:
¦	Engaging the Agency's community stakeholders (particularly those directly
affected by clean up) as a legitimate partner
¦	Listening to the community stakeholder's specific concerns
¦	Being honest, frank, and open
¦	Collaborating with other credible sources, both internally and externally.
¦	Meeting the needs of the Media
¦	Communicating clearly and with com passion
¦	Planning and evaluating communication efforts
2.	Develop an OSWER glossary of risk com muni cation deliniiions (building on the terms that
already are part of the Superfund Risk Communication Tool (ilossary) as a way to establish
a foundation for OSWER's risk communication.
Answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) about risk
1. Develop answers for FAQs related to risk. Based on Workgroup discussion and feedback
from other Agency staff there are many risk communication concerns that repeatedly
require a concise and thoughtful response from EPA when it attempts to communicate risk
to its various audiences A list of the FAQs that will be addressed by the Workgroup can be
found in Appendix III
2 The list of FAQs should continue to evolve in order to keep pace with changing realities of
OSWI-R program offices. Answers to FAQs should be revised and new questions should be
added as necessary. OSWER should identify staff that will manage this process and work
with the program offices to revise and add questions. EPA staff should actively share
experiences regarding risk communication so that the list of FAQs is as current and as useful
as possible. The CEN is one possible forum where this discussion could take place.
Design an OSWER comprehensive risk communication education program
1. Coordinate risk communication education content that successfully incorporates the cardinal
rules of risk communication and the FAQs discussed earlier in this report. The content
should be integrated into other training opportunities (e.g., training courses, professional or
training conferences, etc.) where appropriate. The Workgroup does not believe that
developing a separate risk communication training course is necessary because many
training opportunities already exist within OSWER. Rather, brief and concise material on
Action 11 - DRAFT Workgroup Recommendations Report

August 22, 2012
risk communication should be developed that can be easily incorporated into existing
training courses.
2.	Develop training on color coding. This training content should further explore challenges
raised in the pilot program (CEI Action 12), such as the idea that "colors" have different
connotations in different communities. Presenting color-coded sampling results should be
considered one of many tools available to EPA when communicating risks to communities.
3.	Coordinate with CEI Action 14, Community Engagement Trainii" >n marketing existing
risk communication courses and coordinating with OSWER tr .nng piograms on delivering
training courses. Analyze the list of current risk communic" 'raining courses to
communicate the target audience and course content to C \VEk . 'nunieating risk
to the public. Revisions to the content should -»tasked to the CEN where . ~on iate and
the input of those who have participated in cran. should ^ considered.
The Workgroup hopes that many of these draft recommend;.. -s will be strengthened through
public comment and internal discussion. O.ce final, these reco. Nidations can be pursued in order
to strengthen the risk communications and	community eni_ ment competencies of
OSWER personnel. This will enhance OSW. k ^ ""ement with u communities and other
stakeholders, allowing communities to meanii rfully '^nlc in go ernment decisions on land
cleanup, emergency invpaivdncss and response uul ¦' o niu. .it of hazardous substances and
Action 11 - DRAFT Workgroup Recommendations Report

August 22, 2012
The CEI Action 11 Workgroup plans to continue their work in supporting these draft
recommendations to achieve the goal of strengthening the risk communication competencies of
OSWER personnel. The Workgroup will engage in the following steps once this report has been
•	Continue to identify terms and revise definitions from the Superfund Risk Communication
Tool Glossary that pertain to risk and risk communication.
•	Finalize elements of the revised OSWER strategy for risk communication, including
cardinal rules, FAQs, and concise material on risk communication to incorporate into
existing training.
•	Work with OSWER training programs to determine how best to i nlcui ale these risk
communication elements into overall training efforts for OSWER slalV
•	Work with OSWER to determine how best to coordinate with future CI A acti\ ities.
•	Finalize answers to FAQs
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This is an annotated bibliography of risk and risk communication publications that may be pertinent
to governmental agencies. Each entry includes the target audience and a URL link for the
publication. OSWER does not have comprehensive guidance in place for risk communication.
This list is intended to provide a snapshot of some of the relevant documents that have historically
been used by OSWER program offices.
Chess, Caron, Billie Jo Hance, and Peter M. Sandman. "lmprov; dialogue with
Communities: A Risk Communication Manual for Government Nt "ersey Department of
Environmental Protection. January 1988. 
Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
Written for use by New Jersey State government agencies. t,_ document is intended \inual for
planning and undertaking effective environmental health • communication. Content foe " on dealing
with communities already concerned about risk, rather jiai. "ting con "unities to new i isk i he manual
is based on interviews with academic experts, industry repress c- .nz^n leaders and g ,vernment staff
throughout the country in policy, technical and community rekilu osiiions. Topics include how
communities see risk, earning trust and credibility, deciding when li ' -ase information, interacting with
communities, and explaining risk.
The manual purports that risk communication nuisl lie l\\o-wav between .mg bodies and affected
publics to be effective, and that open dialogue loads lo coopcruli\ c decision' iliat are more workable and
more acceptable to communities in the long term. Risk communication is complex and highly situational,
and there are no "one size fits all" instructions. Consistent support from management and a clear mandate
from top policy-makers arc critical lo clTcclive risk communication.
Covello, Vincent T. "Draft Risk and Crisis Communication Plan." U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. August 2006.
 Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
Writlen as an operational plan for government agencies to implement effective risk communication in a crisis
or emergenc\. lliis document provides protocols and polices, as well as a collection of nine procedural
checklists: Verity Situation: Conduct Notifications; Conduct Assessment (active crisis plan); Organize
Assignments; Prepare Information and Obtain Approvals; Conduct Media Relations; Conduct Post-Crisis
Evaluation; Conducl Public Education; and Monitor Events. Communication topics covered include what
should be done, how it should be done and by whom it should be done.
In a crisis or emergency, timely, accurate, clear, consistent, and credible information is critical. Heightened
fear and misinformation can thwart efforts to reach affected populations and provide adequate control
measures. The plan describes communication policies and procedures to be followed by the agency in a crisis
or emergency. The plan can, however, be applied to a wide range of non-crisis situations.
Covello, Vincent T. et al. "Effective Risk and Crisis Communication during Water Security
Emergencies: Summary Report of EPA Sponsored Message Mapping Workshops." U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. March 2007.
August 22, 2012
nhsrc/pubs/600r07027.pdf> Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
Written for water sector organizations as they develop risk communication plans, this report summarizes
results from three water security risk communication message mapping workshops conducted by U.S. EPA's
National Homeland Security Research Center during 2005/2006. Invited workshop participants represented a
cross-section of water utilities from various regions of the United States; local, state, and federal government
agencies; emergency response organizations; public health officials; law enforcement agencies; and water
sector professional associations.
National Research Council, Committee on Risk Perception and Cor .iunu ation. Improving
Risk Communication. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Presc <989.
 Accessed 17 Fe' 2011.
This report was developed as a follow-on to a 1983 NRC study > iprc\ nig I'cdck n eminent risk
assessment and risk decision-making (the results of the 1983 ' adv arc summarized in 'larate report Risk
Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Pre w hich does not include i, ssion of risk
communication). The study was funding with NRC fun^ „ i consorti m of federal and p. j sources,
including the regulated community. The recommendations gt Med IV .V study are addressed to several
audiences, including government agencies and legislatures, pri\. .is and industrial associations,
environmental and consumer citizen groups, journalists and media. ntists. and the interested public.
Risk communication is uniquely challenging h ¦ llie issues are tec. illv and scientifically complex,
laden with political controversy, and cut across >	*"ns of many gov>. * c agencies, scientific
disciplines, and sectors of society. Issues explore mi ilua " include kno .edge needed for risk decisions,
influences of human values, politicization of tcchnc 'ogical .. ''moso and techniques of risk
communication, misconceptions md problems with . sk jmnuiniv.. j. and specific recommendations for
improving risk communical1
Scotland 6t Northern Irei * Foru . for Environmt .al Research (SNIFFER). SNIFFER Risk
Communication Booklet: L "n1 ..	1'nderst^nding of Contaminated Land Risks. 2010.
 control;-^ ./ClientSpecific/ResourceManagement/Uploade
SNIFFEr j20risk%20coti nicatio. ",0booklet.pdf> Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
The jcoli. ind Northern I iv. ' I 'oi uni . Lnvironmental Research (SNIFFER) manages a partnership-
based rosoau hI knowledge c ange program for the environment agencies in the UK. Written for use by
Scottish and V i n Irish local .hority officers, environment agencies, consultants, communications and
health professions ' -\ clopers. iidowners, and other stakeholders, this booklet is designed to be a
convenient and easy-. se refo .nee that complements the Communicating Understanding of Contaminated
Land Risks revised guiu ^ee SNIFFER, May 2010). It provides a comprehensive distillation of the ideas
and tips contained within .o guidance in a format that is more conducive to quick referencing.
Scotland 6t Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research. Project UKLQ.13:
Communicating Understanding of Contaminated Land Risks. May 2010.
 Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
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August 22, 2012
This report was developed as guidance for local authorities in the UK in the development and revision of the
communication component in their Contaminated Land Regime Inspection Strategy and in the development
of site-specific risk communication strategies in accordance with UK environmental regulations. Topics
explored include timing of messages, media interaction, perceptions of risk and contamination, simplifying
science for citizens, and identifying stakeholders. Provided in the report are specific recommendations for
developing effective communication strategies and practical guidance on communicating about land
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Risk Management P Teh Laboratory.
"Considerations in Risk Communication: A Digest of Risk Commur .ation as a Risk
Management Tool." EPA/625/R-02/004. Revised November 20'
 Accesse Feu..
Targeted li' .nergencv -nleisai 'her emergency response stakeholders, this Web page defines
message apping and the i 'i\csoi nessage mapping project in the context of risk communication,
andp v/. an example mes map. h aed on the Web page is a link to a 40-minute video about using
message m. ng in risk conini -ation (,.itp://
Message mapp. s a science-lx 1 risk communication tool that enables members of the emergency
response and em i. vntal prui . ion communities to quickly and concisely deliver the most pertinent
information about an Tgenc Message maps are sets of organized statements, or messages, that address
likely questions and coi, - .n an emergency. Each map identifies up to three unique messages that address
a specific issue. Each issu .nay be addressed by several layered message maps. Each message is based on
research associated with a specific scenario.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
"Presenter's Manual for: 'Superfund Risk Assessment and How You Can Help' A 40-Minute
Videotape." EPA/540/R-99/
013. July 2000.  Accessed 17
Feb. 2011.
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August 22, 2012
This document was developed as manual for EPA staff conducting public presentations of the video
"Superfund Risk Assessment and How You Can Help." The content aligns with sections in the video,
describing the key message for each section and providing sample questions to pose to community members.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. "Risk
Communication in Action: Case Studies in Fish Advisories." EPA/625/R-06/013. August 2007.
 Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
Written as guidance for stakeholders in communicating risks of mercury cont .iiiuiuon in fish, this handbook
provides both general and detailed information on how to enhance mercur sk communication activities
and other outreach efforts to facilitate communication in areas where in' m. n is not available. The
purpose of this document is to convey recent work performed concer ig risks vposurc to methyl-
mercury to the risk communicators at various levels.
The handbook covers communicating mercury risk and its effv-zcs on tne environment human health to
the public, summarizes current mercury risk communicatic programs at EPA and other . "ral agencies,
and describes specific case studies in using data visualr.... -Mid interp Nation tools. The v jtudies
described are the State of Minnesota, the State ofNew York. rnvul ' s Indian Fish am \Vildlife
Commission, and San Francisco Bay FCA.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, L *»f Research an«_ velopment. "Risk
Communication in Action: Environmental 'ast J*es." EPA/62. 02/-11. September 2002.
< http: //www. e pa. gov/
nrmrl/pubs/625r02011/625r02011.pdf> Acc ssed ./ "V.
Written for use by those dev	'< communicati i materials, I'.is handbook discusses specific data
visualization and data int- ^retation i. in the contexi if risk communication, and describes several case
studies of a variety of; " that wei artofEPA's E;'iron mental Monitoring for Public Access and
Community Tracking (EMl- T) Pro- mi
Data visualization ^ols describe	' ' color-coding, icons, maps, graphs, GIS, and
simulations ' .^ .... ' also pu ' an in-dopui discussion of environmental indexing. Project case
studies li' lie AIRNow. . ¦ Index. ' I.ake Access projects include project histories, methods, key
acconv Clients, lessons k\ landli. "'ans.
U.S. Environi tal Protecti Agency, Office of Research and Development. "Risk
Communication ^tion: T' Risk Communication Workbook." EPA/625/R-05/003. August
2007.  Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
The purpose of this work1 ook is to provide a better understanding of the elements of successful risk
communication to public health officials, local environmental managers and community decision makers.
The workbook describes concepts of risk communication based on perceptions, value differences, persuasion
and presentation of data in new ways. EPA sample documents are included to show a unique demonstration
of communicating risk. Following these examples is a section on communication tools and techniques. Case
studies and workbook exercises are included as well as an extensive bibliography. Case studies include
SunWise, The EMPACT Handbook, Lake Access, Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network
(BASIN), and Tools in You Schools.
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August 22, 2012
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. "Risk
Communication in Action: The Tools of Message Mapping." EPA625/R-06/012. August 2007.
 Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
This workbook provides in-depth guidance on using message mapping in the context of risk communication
for emergency responders and other stakeholders in risk communication. The workbook details seven
"cardinal rules" of risk communication and eight specific steps for creating message maps. Three examples
of message mapping in action described in the workbook are the West Nile Virus, Bioterrorism (Anthrax),
and Water Contamination (Cryptosporidium).
A message map is a detailed description of hierarchically organized answers to anticipated questions and
concerns from stakeholders (e.g., the public, the media, and special interest groups) in the event of a disaster,
crisis, or alarming situation. A well-designed message map helps multiple partners (eg., the firemen, the
police, the health-care workers and other authorities) speak with one voice, in a clear, concise manner; and
minimizes the potential for distributing inappropriate content or in an inappropriate manner. The workbook
provides guidance in using message mapping as a tool for managing risk perception, in addition to explaining
actual risk realities.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Policy Analysis. "Seven Cardinal Rules of
Risk Communication." OPA-87-020. April 1988.

Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
This is a tri-fold brochure intended for use by the general public ll briefly describes seven "cardinal rules"
of risk communication: accept and involve the public as a legiliniale partner: plan carefully and evaluate your
efforts; listen to the public's specific concerns; be honest, frank, and open: coordinate and collaborate with
other credible sources, nieel the needs of llie media: speak clearly and with compassion.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Superfund Community Involvement Toolkit Tab-37
Risk Communication." EPA Superfund Community Involvement Toolkit. Last Updated
September 2002.
 Accessed 17 Feb. 2011.
This is a chapter from a larger loolkit covering many subjects in the area of community involvement in the
Superfund process intended for use by Superfund SAMs, RPMs, or others involved in Superfund site
assessment and cleanup. This document applies general risk communication strategies to Superfund site
management specifically, and pio\ ides references for a list of related tools and resources.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9. "A Risk Assessment IS NOT: A Risk
Assessment IS:"
This two-page flyer for the general public provides very general information about Superfund risk
assessments in both English and Spanish.
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Definitions of "Risk"
The chance that chemicals from a Superfund site could cause
health problems. Risk in the context of health and the environment
may be described as the potential for a harmful event, such as
cancer, that carries with it doubt about whether the harmful event
will occur. Risk also may be described as the probability of harm
from exposure to a hazard.
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, Office of Solid Waste and
Emergency Response. "Presenter's
Manual for: 'Superfund Risk
Assessment and How You Can Help'
A 40-Minute Videotape." EPA/540/R-
99/013. July 2000.
 Accessed 17
Feb. 2011. (p. 13).
A measure of the probability that damage to life, health, property,
and/or the environment will occur as a result of a given hazard
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency. "Superfund Community
Involvement Toolkit Tab-37 Risk
Communication." EPA Superfund
Community Involvement Toolkit. Last
1' aai "d September 2002.
iitv/pdfs/3 7 riskcom.pdf> Accessed
. Sb. 2011. (p.A13).
Definitions of "Risk Communication"
Definition Source
An interactive process of exchange of information a i
opinion among individuals, groups, and institutions. .
involves multiple messages about llie nature of risk anc other
messages, not strictly about risk, thai express concerns,
opinions, or reactions to risk messages or to legal and
institutional arrangements lor risk managemenl
Research Council, Committee on
Risk erception and Communication.
Improving Risk Communication.
Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press,
1989.  Accessed 17
Feb. 2011. (p. 19).
The process of informing people alioul hazards to their
environment or dieir heal ill
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
National Risk Management Research
Laboratory. "Considerations in Risk
Communication: A Digest of Risk
Communication as a Risk Management
Tool." EPA/625/R-02/004. Revised
November 2003.
 Accessed 17
Feb. 2011. (p. 2).
The process of informing people about potential hazards to
their person, property, or community.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Office of Research and Development. "Risk
Communication in Action: The Risk
Communication Workbook." EPA/625/R-
05/003. August 2007. 
Accessed 17 Feb. 2011. (p. 1).
An interactive process of exchange of information and
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
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opinions among individuals, groups, and institutions. It often
involves multiple messages about the nature of the risk or
expressing concerns, opinions, or reactions to risk messages
or to the legal and institutional arrangements for risk
Office of Research and Development. "Risk
Communication in Action: The Tools of
Message Mapping." EPA625/R-06/012.
August 2007.  Accessed
17 Feb. 2011. (p. 3). [Taken from NRC1
The process of informing people about the hazards of a
Superfund site.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Superfund Community Involvement Toolkit
Tab-37 Risk Communication." EPA
Superfund Cor ... >tv Involvement Toolkit.
Last Update September 2002.
17 Fcl 2011.(p
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The Superfund Community Involvement Toolkit is designed to provide Superfund site teams, community
involvement staff, and others with a practical easy-to-use aid for designing and enhancing community
involvement activities. The CI Toolkit offers multiple "tools" which each describe an activity or resource.
The current tool on risk communication includes the following glossary. We are working to update the tool,
including the glossary.
The glossary is intended to assist readers in understanding terms used by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency. The definitions are not all-encompassing and should not be construed as official EPA definitions.
Acute exposure: Exposure to one dose or multiple doses within a short time - 24 hours to a few days.
Acute Toxicity: A term used to describe immediate toxicity. Its former use was associated with toxic effects
that were severe (e.g., mortality) in contrast to the term "subacute toxicity" which was associated with toxic
effects that were less severe.
Adverse Health Effect: Any change resulting in anatomical, I'unctional. or psychological impairment that
may affect the performance of the whole organism
Aquifer: An underground geological formal ion. or group ol' formations. conlaining usable amounts of
groundwater that can supply wells and springs
Asbestosis: Scarring of the lung from inhaling airborne asbestos libers This disease is often fatal.
Bioaccumulate: To build up a large amount of a substance in the body by ingesting small amounts over an
extended period of time
Carcinogen: Any substance that can cause or promote cancer.
Carcinogenesis: The origin or production of cancer (very likely a series of steps). The carcinogenic event so
modifies the genome and/or other molecular control mechanisms in the target cell that they can give rise to a
population of altered cells.
Chronic Exposure: Multiple exposures occurring over an extended period of time, or a significant fraction
of the animal's or indi\ idual's lifetime.
Chronic Toxicity: A term used to describe delayed toxicity. However, the term "chronic toxicity" also refers
to effects that persist o\ er a long time, whether or not they occur immediately or are delayed.
Congenital: A condition existing from birth. Congenital conditions are acquired during development in the
womb. They are not inherited from the parents.
Cohort Study: An epidemiologic (human) study that observes subjects in different exposed groups and
compares the incidence of symptoms. Although ordinarily prospective in nature, such a study is sometimes
carried out retrospectively, using historical data.
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Cumulative Risk Assessment: A process that involves the consideration of the aggregate ecologic or health
risk to a target organism caused by the accumulation of risk from multiple stressors (any physical, chemical,
or biological entity that can induce an adverse response) and multiple pathways of exposure.
Developmental Toxicity: Adverse effects on the developing organism (including death, structural
abnormality, altered growth, or functional deficiency) resulting from exposure prior to conception (in either
parent), during prenatal development, or postnatally up to the time of sexual maturation.
Dose: Administered dose is the mass of a substance given to an organism and in contact with an exchange
boundary (e.g., gastrointestinal tract) per unit body weight, per unit time (e.g.. mg/kg-day). Absorbed dose is
the amount of a substance penetrating the exchange boundaries of an organism after contact.
Dose Response: How a biological organism's response to atoxic substance quantitatively shifts as its overall
expo-sure to the substance changes (e.g., a small dose of carbon monoxide ma\ cause drowsiness; a large
dose can be fatal).
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): The carrier of genetic inl'oimalion in cells.
Ecology: The relationship of living things to one another and llieir en\ imnmcnt. or the slud\ of such
Endocrine Disruptors: Exogenous (outside the body) chemical agon is llial interfere with the production,
release, transport, metabolism, binding, or elimination of the natural hormones in the body, which are
responsible for the maintenance of homeostasis and regulation of developmental processes.
Enteric: Relating to the intestines, alimentary.
Exposure: Contact of an organism w illi a chemical or physical agent. Exposure is quantified as the amount
of the agent available at the exchange boundaries of the organism (e.g., gut, skin, lungs) and available
Exposure Assessment: The dcterminalion or eslimalion (qualitative or quantitative) of the magnitude,
frequency, duration, and route of exposure.
Ground Water: Water that moves slowly underground in an aquifer.
Hazardous Wsisle: Waste defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCA) as those that may
cause, or si 111 lican l lv contribute to illness or death, or that may substantially threaten human health or the
environment when not properly controlled.
Health Advisory: An estimate of acceptable drinking water exposure to a chemical substance based on
health effects information. A Health Advisory is not a legally enforceable standard, but serves as technical
guidance to assist federal, state, and local officials.
Incidence: The number of cases of a disease or occurrence of an effect within a specified period of time.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM): A mixture of chemical and other non-pesticide methods to control
Malignant: Tending to become progressively worse and to result in death if not treated; having the
properties of anaplasia, invasiveness, and metastasis.
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Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): Maximum permissible level of a contaminant delivered to any user
of a public drinking water system. An MCL is an enforceable federal regulation.
Metastasis: The transfer of disease from one organ or part to another one not directly connected with it.
Mitigation: Measures taken to reduce adverse impacts on the environment.
Morbidity: Sickness.
Mortality: Death.
Particulate Matter: Airborne materials that can, depending on their size and composition, lodge in various
areas of the respiratory tract.
Pathogens: Microorganisms that can cause disease in other o'- .tnism„ or in humans, animals, and plants
(e.g., bacteria, viruses, or parasites) found in sewage, in rur .r'from farms or rural areas populated with
domestic and wild animals, and in water used for swimn- pish and shellfish contaminated by pathogens,
or the contaminated water itself, can cause serious illness.
Restoration: Measures taken to return a site to pre-violation conn
Risk: A measure of the probability that damage lo 11 lc. health, property. ''or the environment will occur as
a result of a given hazard.
Risk Assessment: The determination of the kind and degree of hazard posed by a specific pollutant, and the
present or potential health risk that exists due to that agent. Major slops may include:
•	Hazard Identification: Determines whether exposure to a substance can cause cancer, birth defects, or
other adverse health effects.
•	Dose Response Assessment: Determines the possible severity of adverse health effects at different
levels of exposure.
•	Exposure Assessment: Estimates the amount ol'contact individuals within a population—including
potentially sensitive groups, such as children—could have with the substance.
•	Risk Characterization: Combines the information in the first three steps to determine the level of
potential risk to humans and the environment.
Risk Management: The process of evaluating and selecting alternative regulatory and non-regulatory
responses to risk The selection process necessarily requires the consideration of legal, economic, and
behavioral factors.
Smelter: A facility llial mclls or fuses ore, often with an accompanying chemical change, to separate its
metal content. Emissions cause pollution. "Smelting" is the process involved.
Solvent: A liquid capable of dissolving a material and holding it in solution. For example, paint remover is a
paint solvent.
Superfund: Federal authority, established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation,
and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act
(SARA) of 1986, to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may
endanger health or the environment.
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Surface Water: Water at the surface of the earth, including lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. It is the source
of much ground water through the larger hydrologic cycle as water moves from the surface to aquifers below
Toxic: Poisonous
Toxicology: The study of the adverse effects of chemicals in living organisms.
Volatile: Any substance that evaporates readily.
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Add an introduction to this appendix.
Sampling Methodology
1.	Does a database exist that shows contaminated areas? For example, can I type in an address
and find out if there is anything within a 5-mile radius that is being cleaned up or has been
cleaned up by EPA or the State?
2.	Will EPA release specific addresses at which samples have been taken?
3.	What do the data mean?
Contamination Effects on Real Estate Value
4.	How will this affect my property value?
5.	What can citizens do if their property value goes clow n because of a polluted (Superfund)
6.	Will there be an immediate appraisal of my property to adjust my tax status?
7.	Do property values rebound? How long will it take? Can you provide examples?
8.	Can I be held responsible for pollution on my residential property?
9.	If my property sits on a contaminated aquifer, am I liable''
10.	As a prospective purchaser of a piece of property that is on or near a Superfund site, what
would my responsibility be for contamination which existed at the time of purchase?
11.	Is a bank or other lender liable for contamination if it lends money (or has lent money) to
owners or developers of contaminated property?
12.	Do I have to disclose the contamination on my property to potential buyers?
13.	Will I be able to refinance my loan due to the devaluation of my property?
14.	Can I refuse to limit EPA access to my property? If EPA uses my property for sampling or
well installation, will I be paid?
15.	Can EPA take part or all of my property? Will I be paid if EPA does take my property?
16.	Can EPA mo\ e me from my property? How long can they keep me away from my property?
17.	My property \ allies have gone down because of being on or near a toxic waste site. Can
EPA pay me for the property \ alue I have lost?
18.	What information can EPA provide to potential buyers?
19.	If my loan is denied because of concerns about contamination, can EPA call my banker or
20.	Can a homeowner perform a cleanup to ensure that he/she will be able to sell their property?
21.	How does a homeowner know if EPA has investigated pollution problems on their property?
Risk Assessment Methodology
22.	What is relative risk?
23.	What are acceptable risk levels?
24.	Why doesn't EPA adopt the precautionary principle?
25.	What are "emerging contaminants"? Are there chemicals at the site that are not being
detected and could be impacting my health right now?
26.	Why does EPA use flawed risk methodology?
27.	If EPA establishes a new risk level for a contaminant, what does this mean for the sites
where this contaminant exists? Will it mean setting new cleanup levels?
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28.	Why can't EPA say that an area is safe instead of saying that "exposure is extremely
29.	How strongly does decision-making for different programs hinge on risk assessment? How
are uncertainties calculated, and why doesn't EPA do a better job or include at cumulative
risk (with higher baselines for some communities), multi-pollutant risk, including
synergi stic/antagoni stic effects?
Health Concerns
30.	What is a Public Health Assessment?
31.	Will EPA pay my medical bills?
32.	Do the doctors and nurses in the area know about this and what to
33.	Medical questions? Who to refer to?
34.	Who does what? When do I call EPA and when do I call my local
Suggested Actions
35.	Would you let your kid play here?
36.	Would you drink the water?
37.	Would you live here?
38.	Are you telling me to stop eating fish?
39.	Would you live here or eat vegetables grown in our garden''
Clean-up and Funding Concerns
40.	Isn't cost of the cleanup the number one factor used in EPA decision making?
41.	Why is the government spending more money on studying this site instead of just cleaning it
42.	What is the remedy fails? Will EPA be around the future to make sure it gets fixed?
43.	Why is EPA weal ing protective clothing and we are not?
44.	What did you remo\ e and what's still there?
45.	Who makes the final decision0
46.	Are there any more issues thai you don't know that will come up in the future?
47.	All of what you mentioned are important; we don't prioritize like you do.
48.	Our position is that ALL of it needs to be removed.
49.	How do we know if something is going wrong with what's in place?
50.	Since the site records are few or missing, how does EPA know it found all the contamination
at the site?
General Questions 8t Definitions
51.	What are contaminants of concern?
52.	What is a PRP''
53.	What is the ATSDR?
54.	How/why a Superfund Site?
55.	Is it safe?
56.	Has an EPA decision ever been reversed?
57.	How many more of these sites are there?
58.	Why has it taken this long for the government to act?
59.	Why would I believe that you are telling all you know about the site and the contaminant?
health department?
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This is a list of Workgroup members who have participated in a majority of CEI Action 11 National
Workgroup meetings.
| OSWER Program Office/Region |
| Representative |
Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
Peter Oh
(Workgroup Co-Chair)
Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI)
Yolanda Sanchez
(Workgroup Co-Chair)
Center for Program Analysis (CPA)
Shea Jones
Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization (OBLR)
Ann Carrol
EPA Region 4
Glenn Adams
Matt Robbins
EPA Region 9
Sophia Serda
EPA Region 10
Kira Lynch
Caryn Sengupta
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Robert Safay
Questions about the CEI Action 11 Workgroup or this Recommendations Report can be directed to
Peter Oh, who can be reached al (2<>2) 564-2375 or oh.peteru/
Action 11 - DRAFT Workgroup Recommendations Report