The weighted-bit assessment table of hazardous chemicals
The Fraunhofer INT has developed an assessment tool for dangers associated with the liberation of hazardous chemicals. In this system substances are evaluated as to their availability, deployability, toxicology, and the possible socioeconomic consequences of their release. Each sub-category is qualified as either "true" (value 1) or "not true" (value 0), to minimise ambiguity. An exception to this rule is made in some sub-categories of the toxicology section where the value 0.5 is allowed for practical reasons. The advantages of this system are: i) low ambiguity because of the "one bit" character, ii) a wide range of substances and hazards can be assessed and compared in just one table, iii) a specific "pattern" that can be further analysed is generated for each substance, and iv) the weighting factors can be adapted to assess different scenarios. We showed that reasonable assessments can be generated by simple and intuitive application of basic algorithms (addition, subtraction, multiplication) on the binary database. These features render our system capable of enabling easy, yet sound, communication between persons with different backgrounds and thus make it a valuable planning tool.