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OCR for page 320
Issues in Risk Assessment Conflicting lines of evidence (models and data that do not support the risk estimate); Explanation of the weight-of-evidence determination for cases in which conflicting lines of evidence are identified; Description of the context of the effects estimate, including comparisons with other anthropogenic risks and with natural spatial and temporal variability and implications for other end points and levels of ecological organization that were not formally assessed; Identification of management actions to improve the assessment, including research or regulatory experiments that would substantially improve the risk assessment as a basis for decision-making. Organization and Presentation Risk characterization as the product of a risk assessment process forms a critical link between the components of the risk assessment and the risk management process. The major function of the process of risk characterization is to communicate to a risk manager the information essential to making a decision. The importance of communicating the technical bases for risk estimates to both risk managers and the public is now generally recognized. The points that follow represent highlights of a discussion concerning how risk characterizations should be organized and presented to maximize this communication. Not only risk managers and resource managers, but also the general scientific community, the interested public, legislative bodies, and perhaps others, should be considered as potential audiences for risk characterization. The diverse nature of this audience makes the development of a good risk characterization challenging. It was agreed that the product should be tailored to meet the needs of the expected audiences. Although it needs to contain the most important scientific information, assumptions, and uncertainties, it must not be so encyclopedic that it obscures communication of major messages. The risk characterization should be viewed as a product that will connect the science to the decision-making process. Moreover, it should not be simply transmitted with no additional involvement of the risk assessor. Two-way communication should be encouraged. The discussants agreed that the best approach to the achieving the