Issue Date: January 15, 2007
NRC Blasts Risk Assessment Guide
The National Research Council says the White House should scrap its controversial draft guidelines for risk assessment within the federal government. The White House Office of Management & Budget described the draft guidelines as "clear, minimum standards for the scientific quality of federal agency risk assessments" when it released them in January 2006 (C&EN, Jan. 16, 2006, page 6). Agencies, however, said the guidelines would snarl government activities. After reviewing the guidelines at OMB's behest, NRC determined they were "fundamentally flawed," according to a report released on Jan. 11. "We began our review of the draft bulletin thinking we would only be recommending changes, but the more we dug into it, the more we realized that from a scientific and technical standpoint, it should be withdrawn altogether," said John F. Ahearne, chair of the NRC committee that wrote the report and director of the ethics program at Sigma Xi, a scientific research society. The report is available at www.nap.edu/catalog/11811.html.
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