. "4 Stakeholder Perspectives on Environmental Health Sciences Decision Making." Environmental Health Sciences Decision Making: Risk Management, Evidence, and Ethics: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Environmental Health Sciences Decision Making: Risk Management, Evidence, and Ethics - Workshop Summary
participating as a global partner in trade and guidance to developing countries, asserted Farland.
Science is a moving target, and it is essential to think about what information is needed to inform decision making. One idea is the development of a systematic approach to working with data and weighing the evidence. In discussing scientific evidence, it is common to “take studies off the table” until the process reaches a point at which there isn’t enough information to make a decision. If a decision has been made, there is general reluctance in the United States to revisit the science and the decision, either because of antibacksliding regulations or the inability to change the regulation.
To move forward, a new decision paradigm is needed in which there is the flexibility to take into account new insights and scientific information, asserted Farland. This approach would not create an environment in which the discussion of risk based on the information is avoided. Currently, although most state and federal regulations are not designed to protect individuals, they protect the public without defining what the public is or how many individuals constitute the public. As part of a new paradigm, researchers and policy makers would carefully consider whether current federal regulations are in fact designed to adequately protect individuals, especially those in vulnerable subpopulations. Any procedural change, noted Farland, is an opportunity to engage stakeholders on how these regulations are structured to address these populations and under what context. Finally, the paradigm should incorporate evaluation into the decision-making process, as assessing the impact of a decision is vital to the success of future decision making.