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Scientific Review of the Proposed Risk Assessment Bulletin from the Office of Management and Budget
sessments prepared by federal agencies.” In performing its task, the committee was asked to comment, in general terms, on how the guidance will affect the practice of risk assessment in the federal government, to identify critical elements that might be missing from the guidance, and to assess whether there are scientific or technical circumstances that might limit applicability of the guidance. In addition, the committee was asked whether OMB appropriately incorporated recommendations from previous reports of the NRC and other organizations into the proposed risk assessment guidance.
To accomplish its task, the committee held a large public meeting during which it heard presentations from the study sponsors and other invited speakers from private industry, universities, trade associations, and environmental groups. The committee reviewed numerous documents cited in the bulletin and reviewed public comments submitted to OMB on the bulletin. The committee also requested information from the federal agencies on their risk assessment practices and their view of the potential impact of the bulletin on current practices. The committee reviewed both the bulletin and the accompanying supplementary information, and reference to “the bulletin” in this summary includes both the bulletin and the supplementary information.
Although this report touches on some statutory, policy, and budgetary issues, it is not a comprehensive review of all potential impacts of the bulletin. Rather, it is primarily a review of the science involved and the technical applications of the bulletin. Furthermore, much of the language used (and the examples provided) in the bulletin is related to human health risk assessment and not engineering, ecologic, or behavioral risk assessment. The committee recognizes that each of these fields has generated risk assessment methods that address specific interests. However, the committee was tasked with reviewing the bulletin and not providing a comprehensive treatment of risk assessment, so its comments focus mainly on human health risk assessment, as did the OMB bulletin.
Consistency with NRC and Other Reports
The general thrust of the bulletin appears to be consistent with many of the themes and recommendations in reports by previous NRC committees and other expert organizations. The bulletin emphasizes the