dresses the major scientific issues of the draft Roadmap including an evaluation of the state of the science, the rationale for proposed research, and research needs.
NIOSH released its draft Roadmap document Asbestos and Other Mineral Fibers: A Roadmap for Scientific Research in February 2007 and posted it on the public docket. In May 2007, NIOSH held a public meeting on the Roadmap at which a number of presentations were made on proposed changes to the document (NIOSH, 2009b). The Roadmap was also submitted to a panel of expert reviewers. The draft document was revised in response to reviewer comments and was released in June 2008 (NIOSH, 2009c). The June version was further revised in response to public review. Table 2-1 summarizes this timeline. The January 2009 version entitled Revised Draft NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin. Asbestos Fibers and Other Elongated Mineral Particles: State of the Science and Roadmap for Research (NIOSH, 2009a) is the version that was reviewed by this committee and is referred to throughout this report as “the Roadmap.”
The committee recognizes the considerable effort and expertise that went into developing the Roadmap. Further, NIOSH has sought input from a number of stakeholders and expert peer reviewers. The process has been open and iterative and has provided several opportunities for comments by interested parties.
The challenge in developing and implementing the research program outlined in the Roadmap lies in the interagency and interdisciplinary nature of the research questions. Because NIOSH is not the only federal agency involved in efforts on asbestos and numerous stakeholders are interested in these issues, implementation of the Roadmap will involve many other entities. Having wider authorship of the Roadmap beyond NIOSH would have been challenging. Another possibility might have been to have had an external independent organization develop the Roadmap as was done for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) research strategy on airborne particulate matter, a congressionally mandated effort that is discussed below (NRC, 1998). Having said this, the committee believes that the multiple opportunities to comment on the Roadmap have engaged a wide range of stakeholders and the