The members of the NRC committee were chosen for their expertise in risk assessment, exposure assessment, toxicology, epidemiology, biostatistics, health economics, and air pollution regulations. The committee was asked to accomplish the following tasks:
Consider issues important in estimating the health-risk-reduction benefits of air pollution regulations, including the scientific data, risk assessment approaches, populations affected, baseline used, assumptions, analysis of uncertainty, and identification of key indicators of exposure and population health status.
Critically review methods used for recent estimates of regulatory health benefits.
Identify methods used by federal regulatory agencies and others, recommend standard good-practice guidelines and principles for estimating health benefits, and delineate the data-gathering required to better assess health benefits in the future.
Identify approaches to estimating regulatory health benefits when relevant information is limited.
Where applicable, recommend areas for further research and monitoring.
The committee was not asked to evaluate methods used to estimate other types of benefits, such as improvements in visibility, resulting from air pollution control. The committee was also not asked to review methods used for economic valuation of health benefits or for regulatory cost analysis, but was asked to consider ways in which health benefits can best be estimated to inform the cost analysis. In addition, the committee was not asked to address whether it is appropriate to compare the benefits analyses of environmental regulation with those of alternative public health and safety measures to determine which regulations should have priority.
To accomplish its task, the committee held five meetings from July 2001 to May 2002. Public sessions were held at the first two meetings, during