perspectives and diverse backgrounds committee members brought to the deliberations. The result was adoption of a broader approach to considering uncertainty than is typically taken for environmental decisions. In contrast, historically, much of the work related to uncertainty by EPA and others has focused on the uncertainty in the estimates of human health risks.
Despite a lengthy delay in completing this report, and after responding to excellent peer-review comments, in the end, I am proud of the work we have done and hope that the EPA and other decision makers will find the fundamental report message useful. In summary, that message is that EPA has made substantial technical progress in how it conducts uncertainty analyses in support of its human health risk assessments. However, because uncertainties pervade not only relationships between hazards and health outcomes, more emphasis is needed on the uncertainty in factors affecting EPA’s decisions in addition to estimates of uncertainties in how policies affect human health (e.g., uncertainty in economics and technological assessment that are used for regulatory purposes). Advances in accounting for these latter uncertainties are critical to more robust assessments and ultimately should lead to better decisions.
The committee would like to thank all of the individuals who contributed to the work of the committee, including those who presented to the committee (Appendix C), and the peer reviewers who gave the committee a careful assessment and a list of suggested changes that, when implemented, substantially improved the report. The committee also acknowledges the help of consultants Lynn Goldman and David Paltiel, who provided effective guidance at critical points in the Committee’s work. I would also like to acknowledge committee members Michael Taylor and Robert Perciasepe, who resigned from the committee upon being offered appointments at the FDA and EPA, respectively, Dorothy Patton, who also resigned from the committee, and Steven Schneider, who died in July 2010. All four members made early contributions to the committee’s deliberations but were not involved in the drafting and approval of the final report.
Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee for their efforts and perseverance throughout what turned out to be a lengthy process. They have argued their positions but also accommodated their colleagues and sought consensus. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of a number of staff members from IOM, in particular Kathleen Stratton and Michelle Catlin, whose efforts were essential in information gathering, in report writing, in responding to reviewers’ comments, and in providing the committee with assistance and support. Many thanks to many other IOM staff, particularly Rose Marie Martinez, who made important contributions along the way to the final production of this report.
Frank A. Sloan, Chair
Committee on Decision Making Under Uncertainty