bias, confounding, or chance on the reported results; integrating the overall evidence within and across diverse areas of research; and formulating the conclusions themselves. These aspects of the committee’s review required thoughtful consideration of alternative approaches at several points. They could not be accomplished by adherence to a narrowly prescribed formula.
Rather, the approach described here evolved throughout the process of review and was determined in important respects by the nature of the evidence, exposures, and health outcomes at issue. Both the quantitative and the qualitative aspects of the process that could be made explicit were important to the overall review. Ultimately, the conclusions about association expressed in this report are based on the committee’s collective judgment. The committee has endeavored to express its judgments as clearly and precisely as the data allowed.
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