ERICA: A multiparametric toxicological risk index for the assessment of environmental healthiness

Elena Boriani, Alessandro Mariani, Diego Baderna, Cinzia Moretti, Marco Lodi, Emilio Benfenati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A risk assessment strategy considering the impact of chemicals on the whole ecosystem has been developed in order to create a sound and useful method for quantifying and comparing the global risk posed by the main different hazardous chemicals found in the environment. This index, called Environmental Risk Index for Chemical Assessment (ERICA), merges in a single number the environmental assessment, the human health risk assessment and the uncertainty due to missing or uncertain data. ERICA uses a dedicated scoring system with parameters for the main characteristics of the pollutants. The main advantage is that it preserves a simple approach by condensing in this single value an analysis of the risk for the area under observation.ERICA quantifies and compares the global risk posed by hazardous chemicals found in the environment and can be considered a diagnostic and prognostic method for environmental contaminants in critical and potentially dangerous sites, such as incinerators, landfills and industrial areas or in broader geographical areas. The application of the proposed integrated index provides a preliminary quantitative analysis of possible environmental alert due to the presence of one or some pollutants in the investigated site.This paper presents the method and the equations behind the index and a first case study based on the Italian legislation and a pilot study located on the Italian seacoast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-674
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment international
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Ecotoxicity
  • Environment
  • Human risk assessment
  • Integrated strategy
  • Pollutants
  • Risk index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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