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Covering news and views on risk assessment and risk management

1996 News Archives

Below is a listing of RiskWorld's 1996 news articles. For RiskWorld's most recent news coverage, see the homepageContact: Amy Charlene Reed,  senior editor,

What Risk Analysts Should Know About Judicial Review One of the highlights of a session on risk and law at the 1996 Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting this month was a primer on judicial review for risk analysts, presented by Kathleen Kunzer, an assistant general counsel of the Chemical Manufacturers Association who specializes in risk issues and is a member of the interim Executive Committee of SRA’s Risk Science and Law Specialty Group. The issue of judicial review of risk assessments came under the national spotlight recently as Congress considered legislation that would have affected the court’s oversight of government agency regulations based on risk assessments. (Posted December 30, 1996.)

California EPA Harmonizing Risk Assessment Activities with U.S. EPA Director William Farland of U.S. EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment and Director Richard Becker of California EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment explain why a joint agreement between the two agencies is expected to eliminate duplication of risk research efforts, identify joint risk assessment projects, and harmonize risk guidelines. (Posted December 30, 1996.)

Launching RiskWorld. RiskWorld, the on-line publication you are now reading, was officially launched on November 17, 1995, by Tec-Com Inc., a small publishing company located in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the United States. RiskWorld covers events and activities leading to the analysis and management of risks, focusing on those currently receiving the attention of risk professionals. Tangent areas covered include activities supporting risk analysis--that is, methods development, data collection, and other requisite tools--as well as profiles of risk professionals and the companies, agencies, and organizations sponsoring their work. (Updated December 17, 1996.)

Risk Assessment Joint Agreement Between California EPA and U.S. EPA Now On Line The California Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed on line today their Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to harmonize state and federal risk assessment activities. The joint agreement is an outgrowth of the 1996 report "A Review of the California Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Assessment Practices, Policies, and Guidelines," which recommended that the state "take the lead in initiating steps to assure consistency and cooperation with U.S. EPA and other federal counterparts." It also is a result of U.S. EPA’s ongoing efforts to harmonize risk assessment both domestically and internationally. (Posted December 13, 1996.)

California EPA Releases Final Risk Report The final draft of a major report on the California Environmental Protection Agency's chemical risk assessment practices regarding human health was released November 18 on the Internet. Mandated by the state legislature and written by an external scientific committee -- the Risk Assessment Advisory Committee (RAAC) -- the report offers 11 recommendations for improvements in five main areas: uncertainty, variability and risk characterization; hazard identification; dose-response assessment; exposure assessment; and cross-cutting issues. (Posted November 19, 1996.)

Using Sound Science and Common Sense To Implement California's Proposition 65 In a RiskWorld guest editorial, Director Richard A. Becker of the California EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment discusses improvements in California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which is more commonly known as Proposition 65. (Posted November 19, 1996.)

California EPA’s Chemical Risk Assessment Report Now Due November 1 The California Environmental Protection Agency now says that its final report on chemical risk assessment practices related to human health will be available on the Internet by November 1. For now, the preliminary public review draft of A Review of the California Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Assessment Practices, Policies, and Guidelines that was released in May remains on-line at the agency's World Wide Web site, (Posted October 25, 1996.)

EPA Holds Second Public Meeting On Endocrine Disruptors Lynn R. Goldman, assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, announced that a second public meeting will be held October 31-November 1, 1996, in Washington, D.C., with stakeholder groups interested in assisting the Agency in screening and testing endocrine disruptors. The Agency is proposing the formation of an Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee to advise EPA on how to create and implement a screening and testing program for chemicals and pesticides that may interfere with human, fish, and wildlife development, behavior, and reproduction. (Posted October 25, 1996.)

Federal Risk Commission To Release Final Report After responding to feedback from reviewers, the federal Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management will release its final report in two stages at the beginning of the year. More than 3,200 people requested printed copies of the draft report "Risk Assessment and Risk Management in Regulatory Decision-Making," and many others read it on line or downloaded it from RiskWorld. Of these, approximately 125 sent written comments to the Commission. "The responses ranged from two-page comments to 20-page reviews with appendices," said the Commission's Executive Director Gail Charnley. "They came from universities, trade associations, congressional staffs, private citizens, public health agencies, consulting firms, state governments, and environmental activists. Most federal agencies were heavily involved before we released the draft, so they had given us their input earlier." (Posted October 25, 1996; updated January 17, 1997.)

Major Risk Reports On Line from the National Academy Press Several major risk reports are among the more than 1,000 scientific and technical publications that the National Academy Press released on line in their entireties on September 24. Among them is the 1996 report Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society by the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council. The report sweepingly redefined risk characterization with the ultimate goal of increasing stakeholders' acceptance of risk assessments. (Posted September 27, 1996.)

National Academy Press Places 1,000 Books On Line The National Academy Press has taken a monumental step toward its goal of having the full text of 5,000 scientific and technical books on line by the end of 1997. On September 24 the publisher announced that more than 1,000 publications on science, technology, health, and the environment - including several major risk reports - are now available on line. "We believe that we are the only publisher offering the full text of its entire list of books on the Web, " said spokesperson Barbara Kline Pope. (Posted September 27, 1996.)

RiskWorld Interviews TERA Founder Michael L. Dourson Toxicologist Michael L. Dourson explains why he left his 15-year career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he received four EPA bronze medals in honor of his work, to found the non-profit Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment corporation in 1995. (Posted September 11, 1996.)

On-line Database of Chemical Risk Assessments Expanding An on-line database that is aimed at risk assessors and managers around the world who need human health risk values will nearly double in size this month with a major addition of new chemical risk assessments. The International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER) database, which currently contains assessments of 21 chemicals, will add assessments of 17 additional chemicals by the end of September. (Posted September 11, 1996.)

Final Report Due in September on California EPA’s Chemical Risk Assessments The final draft of a major report on the California Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical risk assessment practices related to human health will be available on the Internet by mid-September, said spokesperson Bev Passerello of the agency’s public affairs department. The California state legislature mandated the review in 1993 as part of a regulatory reform effort that aims to provide adequate protection of the environment and public health while at the same time avoiding placing an unnecessary burden on business. Only those practices related to human health were considered, since ecological risk assessment is being covered by an ongoing and parallel effort to create new ecological risk assessment guidelines. (Posted August 30, 1996.)

Earthquake Fellowship Open to Risk Professionals Risk analysts, as well as professionals in a range of other fields such as urban planning and the social sciences, are encouraged to apply for a fellowship with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. The institute is accepting applications through September 6, 1996. (Posted August 2, 1996.)

Key Risk Resources on Internet Compiled A group of risk professionals has compiled a list of key risk resources on the Internet as a project of the Ohio Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis. (Posted July 22, 1996.)

Risk Characterization Redefined: National Research Council Report Proposes New Method A major report recently released by the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council sweepingly redefines risk characterization with the ultimate goal of increasing stakeholders' acceptance of risk assessments. (Posted July 20, 1996; updated September 27, 1996.)

Federal Commission Proposes Risk Management Framework In interviews with RiskWorld, members of the federal Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management say that they hope the centerpiece of their just-released draft report will become a blueprint for risk managers across the nation. (The full text of the report is on line in RiskWorld: see Risk Assessment and Risk Management in Regulatory Decision-Making.) (Posted June 13, 1996.)

Federal Risk Commission Confirms Report's Release Date The federal Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, which originally scheduled the release of its long-awaited draft report on May 9 and rescheduled it first for June 12 and subsequently for June 13, reconfirmed today that the release date will indeed be June 13. When released, the report will be published on-line in its entirety on RiskWorld. The report is the culmination of the work of the federal commission, which was established six years ago by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and is expected to have a broad-ranging impact on how the government uses risk assessment and risk management in federal regulatory programs. (Posted May 31, 1996.)

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