To undertake the review, the Research Council established a committee consisting of members of its Committee on an Assessment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Radiation Studies from DOE Contractor Sites and other experts.
CDC asked the National Research Council to review the CDC-NCI draft report A Feasibility Study of the Health Consequences to the American Population from Nuclear Weapons Tests Conducted by the United States and Other Nations. In accordance with the policies of the National Academy of Sciences, the committee conducted its fact-finding activities in public meetings and met in closed session only to consider findings and recommendations. At its first meeting, the committee examined its own composition to make certain that necessary expertise and perspectives were represented and that no important conflicts of interest or bias existed. The expertise sought in this group included health physics and dose assessment (pertaining to both external radiation and internal emitters), radiation chemistry, radiobiology, nuclear medicine, ethics, epidemiology, biostatistics, modeling, and risk assessment and communication. The committee’s task is outlined in the beginning sections of its report.
The committee met four times in 2002: on April 26–27 in Washington, DC; on July 15– 16, in Washington, DC; on September 12–13, in Des Moines, Iowa; and on November 14–15, in Washington, DC. Two of the meetings included information-gathering sessions. Members of the public were given the opportunity to ask questions or make comments about the CDC-NCI draft report.
FIRST COMMITTEE MEETING
On the first day of its first meeting, in open session, the committee and observers were briefed on the findings of the CDC-NCI feasibility study by Charles Miller of CDC and André Bouville, Steve Simon, and Ethel Gilbert of NCI. Lynn Anspaugh and Harold Beck, consultants for the study, were also present to address committee questions related to dose reconstruction. On the second day, the session was closed for the committee to begin to explore its plans to respond to its charge and develop its report.
SECOND COMMITTEE MEETING
The second meeting, 1 1/2 days long, consisted of a closed session for the committee to discuss its preliminary views on the CDC-NCI draft report and begin the drafting of its findings and recommendations.
THIRD COMMITTEE MEETING
The third meeting, a full-day session open to the public, was dedicated to gathering information and the views of the public and technical experts on the implementation, power, and presentation of the CDC-NCI draft report and on a variety of issues related to communication of the report to the public. Notices inviting the public to attend the meeting went to the NCI 131I email list, Senator Tom Harkin’s office, the press and news media in Iowa, and over 15 citizen advisory and public-interest groups. Almost 20 people attended the meeting, including members of the press from Iowa.
The public meeting was structured to solicit comment from technical experts and laypersons on three topics: dosimetry and uncertainty, archiving and evaluation of other data and other kinds of evidence that shed light on possible health effects, and communication of information in the final report in written and oral forms. Each topic was discussed for about an hour by the invited speakers and committee members and was then the subject of an extended open-microphone session. Attendees were invited to make oral statements or to provide written questions, concerns, and comments to the committee. Written submissions from those who could not attend the meeting were solicited.
The three topics were discussed as follows:
Dosimetry and Uncertainty
Lynn Anspaugh, University of Utah (invited speaker)
Jane Magers (Earth Care) and Dane Spencer (spoke during the open-microphone session)
Other Evidence and Contextual Information Related to NTS and Global Fallout Exposures
Owen Hoffman, President and Director, SENES Oak Ridge, Inc. (invited speaker)
Merle P.Prater (spoke during the open-microphone session)
Issues of Communication
James Thomas, Paralegal, Short Cressman and Burgess (invited speaker)
Margaret Farrell, MPH RD, Office of Communications, NCI (invited speaker)
Margaret Rowland (Earth Care) and Perry Beeman (Des Moines Register) (spoke during the open-microphone session)
During an open-comment session, oral statements were presented to the committee by John Moreland (staff assistant in Senator Harkin’s office), Lisa Ledwidge (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research), Susan Gordon (Alliance for Nuclear Accountability), and Dane Spencer. Written statements were provided to the committee by Robert K.Musil (Physicians for Social Responsibility), Trisha Pritikin, Seth Tuler, Rob Goble, Octavia Taylor, and Abel Russ.
The meeting, which ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., provided a forum for the committee to listen to technical and public statements and opinions concerning the design, implementation, analysis, and communication of the CDC-NCI draft report. In addition to formal presentations,
informal communication between committee members, invited speakers, and members of the public occurred during the coffee breaks and at lunch. All the information gathered at the open meeting is part of the National Research Council’s public-access file and is available, on request, to anyone interested in it.
FOURTH COMMITTEE MEETING
The fourth and final meeting of the committee consisted of closed sessions to review and discuss the fourth draft of this report.