The Commission is grateful to the many people who provided information, advice, and critical comment on our June 1996 Draft Report. As a result of that valuable counsel, our Final Report is much improved.
Volume 1 of our Final Report, released on January 29, 1997, is a reader-friendly 64-page report that focuses exclusively on the Commissions comprehensive new Risk Management Framework, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of comments. We set forth principles for making good risk management decisions and for actively engaging stakeholders in the process. The aim is to move beyond one-chemical, one-risk regulatory actions for protection of air, water, foods, or the workplace and put problems into their public health, ecological, cultural, and community contexts to facilitate better accepted, more effective, and more cost-effective decisions.
With this volume, Volume 2 of our Final Report, the Commission completely updates the 1996 Draft Report. We address many technical and policy issues related to health and environmental risk-based decisions. We make recommendations for specific federal regulatory programs and agencies. In response to comments, we have clarified our recommendations for management of residual risks from section 112 Clean Air Act hazardous air pollutants; for a common metric to assist comparative risk assessment and risk communication for both carcinogens and noncarcinogens; and for use of bright lines as guideposts for implementing decisions. We modified our tabulation of rodent tumor bioassay mechanisms that may not be relevant to human cancer risk if they are the only responses observed and are due to the mechanisms we list, and explained better the difference between probabilistic analyses of variation in exposure versus probabilistic analyses of uncertainty in estimates of risk levels. The recommendations on Superfund have been altered to take into account the administrative changes made over the past year. A recommendation to establish a process for updating permissible exposure limits for the air contaminants in the workplace has been added to those directed at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. An analogous stakeholder process is recommended to update the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.
We were pleased that actions by Congress addressed our 1996 recommendations to modify the Delaney clause for pesticide residues, to evaluate context under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and to remove the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act land-ban that complicated Superfund cleanup.
My fellow Commissioners and I thank the many people who have contributed to our deliberations: 109 people who testified at hearings in Washington, DC and at six regional hearings; staff at the regulatory agencies who provided information and resources; 130 people and organizations who provided written comments; and members and staff of the Congress and leaders and staff of the Clinton Administration for their advice and for the interest they have taken in our findings and recommendations. We particularly thank our splendid staff: Gail Charnley, Executive Director, Sharon Newsome, Associate Director, and Joanna Foellmer, Program Specialist and Designated Federal Official. We look forward to working with Congress, the Administration, state and local governments, and interested citizens to develop strategies for implementing our recommendations and improving risk assessment and risk management practices for the 21st century
Gilbert S. Omenn
NOTE: The Commissions June 1996 Draft Report, both volumes of our Final Report, and all supplementary reports (listed in Appendix A7 of Volume 2) can be found on the Commissions homepage at the Riskworld website: http://www.riskworld.com.