The Panel recommends that the Department make liberal use of committees to foster quality science, to assure independence of research, and to gain participation by outside experts and those who might be affected by the research.
The Department has an obligation to communicate epidemiologic findings to all affected people: workers, former workers, and communities. The Panel recommends that communications be prompt, direct, and understandable. People need to know the nature of studies and their results, whether the findings are good, bad, or inconclusive.
Beryllium disease is an occupational health risk and should be addressed by the Department’s occupational health program and by the analytic epidemiologic research program managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Panel recommends that the Department use a liberal definition of exposure to identify workers throughout its complex who have been exposed to beryllium and who ought to be included in research studies. The Panel also recommends that the Department establish whether beryllium disease may have occurred at facilities other than Rocky Flats.
The Department of Energy has shown a continuing commitment to funding energy-related epidemiology. The recommendations in this report will require additional funds for epidemiologic activities. These would be new or reallocated funds above those budgeted for epidemiology in the proposed Fiscal Year 1991 budget. The Panel recommends an additional $4 million for health surveillance and descriptive epidemiology and an additional $1.1 million for analytic epidemiology.
The reader should put this summary in perspective by, at a minimum, reading “Introduction: Guiding Principles” to understand the beliefs that guided the Panel.