December 17, 2008
OMB's attack on risk assessment
Those of you who remember OMB's ill-fated revision of risk assessment methods (torpedoed by the NRC) may want to consider OMB's recent adventure into the scientific findings underlying risk assessments. One of the axioms of proper risk assessment/management has been to insulate as far as possible the science from the risk management decision. Obviously, OMB didn't get the memo!
OMB Watch published this report:
In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was changing its process for studying the risks of toxic chemicals under its Integrated Risk Information System program. The changes give the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) — an office with little scientific knowledge — a greater role in the risk assessment process. EPA will now involve OMB at every stage of the IRIS assessment process. OMB already reviews — and often edits — agencies' proposed and final regulations. The office will now have several opportunities to review and alter the scientific findings that serve as the basis for chemical exposure standards. OMB and EPA have stuck by the changes despite criticism from Congress, a critical report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and objections of EPA staff over the role of OMB in agency science.
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