Seminar Series to Address Controversial Issues In Risk Assessment

BETHESDA, MD - The Life Sciences Research Office, Inc. (LSRO) Center for Health Risk Analysis (CHRA) is organizing a series of seminars to address technical issues in regulatory risk assessment. The CHRA seminars will provide a forum for a broad-based discussion of the issues and identification of additional activities aimed at addressing them.

A number of activities aimed at improving regulatory risk assessment processes have been undertaken by organizations such as individual regulatory agencies, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Society for Risk Analysis, and the National Academies of Science (NAS).

In early 2006, OMB proposed a set of minimum quality standards for federal agencies' risk assessments¹. This proposal was recently criticized by an NAS committee that reviewed the document². Although the NAS committee endorsed the value of general principles to guide the practice of risk assessment, it recommended that the OMB proposal be withdrawn due to a number of shortcomings it identified. One of the major concerns raised was related to the guidance provided by OMB on the treatment and communication of uncertainty in risk assessments.

The inaugural seminar will explore the kinds of scientific uncertainties encountered in human health risk assessments and identify appropriate methods to address uncertainties to facilitate sound regulatory decision making.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Lorenz Rhomberg, a Principal at Gradient Corporation located in Cambridge, MA, who will discuss "Uncertainty Characterization: The Role of Hypothesis-Based Weight of Evidence." The seminar will take place on May 23, 2007, from 4-5:30 PM in the Statler A/B room at the Capital Hilton, 16th and K Street, NW, Washington, DC. A wine and cheese reception will follow the seminar from 5:30-6:30. There is no charge for the seminar, but individuals must register to attend by May 16, 2007, at [email protected]. Additional information on the seminar is available at

Subsequent seminars will address additional technical issues identified in the NAS report. Individuals who would like to be involved in planning for future seminars are encouraged to contact CHRA staff at [email protected].

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