Through the combined experience of industrialized nations during the last two to three decades of environmental protection, the authors have gained a critical recognition of the limitations of the natural resources (air, water and land) around us. The authors have seen a continued rapid industrial development during the last 30-40 years; however, the authors have witnessed previous mistakes of industrialized countries being repeated. Such mistakes have resulted in overwhelming environmental deficits. These environmental debts became very obvious in many forms: the air in many industrial zones became so dirty it was deemed unhealthy; many lakes and rivers became too polluted for recreational use; and pesticides and other agricultural chemicals were exerting adverse effects on wildlife. In order to manage such crises, governmental agencies were established throughout the world to control environmental problems. In the United States, Congress enacted a series of laws to clean up the pollution. These accomplishments were very significant in light of a tremendous increase in population and economic growth during the same period. However, through our experience in approaches to remove contaminants from individual environmental media, the authors have come to recognize that we must accord more attention to cross-media approaches for controlling our pollution problems. Selected examples of current efforts in prevention oriented multimedia risk assessment and risk management will be discussed to emphasize the need for enhanced efforts in the area.