. "Executive Summary." Review of the Worker and Public Health Activities Program Administered by the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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Review of the Worker and Public Health Activities Program Administered by the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services
tific support for DOE’s Former Worker Medical Surveillance Program. Although the current method to assess beryllium sensitization in workers needs substantial improvement, the committee concludes that the occupational beryllium studies completed by NIOSH have made a significant contribution to the scientific community in general, as well as to DOE’s understanding of the potential for beryllium exposure, sensitization, and progression of disease.
The committee concluded that useful research methodologies were developed in the NIOSH program, and also that the work performed by NIOSH under the MOU has been sound. However, there have been serious and not fully explained delays in executing some studies. NIOSH extramural and intramural programs have not been highly productive in terms of contributions to the peer-reviewed literature.
ATSDR has provided DOE-funded products that add value to the program conducted under the MOU and these products are generally of a high quality. The Public Health Assessments (PHAs) and Toxicological Profiles reviewed by the committee generally contribute to enhancing the public’s understanding of the potential risks posed to the surrounding communities by the activities at the DOE sites. However, while ATSDRstates that it embraces conservative assumptions concerning risks to the community, it is the committee’s view that ATSDR’s continued use of a threshold for radiation effects in the PHAs reduces both public trust and acceptance of the information provided. In addition, it should be noted that the committee did not review either the completeness or the scientific validity of the responses by ATSDR to the public comments that were included in the final PHAs reviewed.
For many of the DOE facilities, NCEH conducted dose reconstruction studies of historical exposures of the public independent of DOE. NCEH has established a scientifically sound public record of the doses received by members of the communities surrounding these facilities that is of benefit to DOE. The NCEH dose reconstruction methods that have been developed, applied, and refined in the NCEH studies have been accepted widely and are being used in epidemiological studies worldwide. NCEH has made dose reconstruction project findings available on-line via the Radiation Studies Branch web site.1 In some cases, there are links to the studies from the individual DOE facility’s web site, which the committee considers appropriate, since a person seeking information about historical releases from a DOE facility and their potential health effects on the surrounding communities would not necessarily know which organizations would be responsible. The publication of dose reconstruction study findings in the open literature appears to depend on the initiative of the contractors who performed the research.