WHO Risk Assessment Network Explores Emerging Risks, Characterization of Uncertainty
Representatives from 55 chemical risk assessment institutions in 29 countries attended the first meeting of the World Health Organization’s Risk Assessment Network in Paris, France, October 8–10, 2014. According to the WHO, attendees addressed new directions in the science of risk assessment; the development of risk assessment methodologies; and coordination of work among institutions. Technical issues discussed included use of biomonitoring information in chemical risk assessment; identification of emerging risks; the evaluation and expression of uncertainty; and implementation of systematic review approaches in chemical risk assessment.
Keynote speaker Kenneth Oden, PhD, former director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and current director of the EPA National Center for Environmental Assessment, encouraged attendees to focus on public health applications of risk assessments, according to an article in the November 2014 issue of the NIEHS publication Environmental Factor.
Speakers from developing countries discussed some of the struggles they face in risk assessment, including limited data relevant to actual exposures in their countries. “As we heard about the needs of developing countries, the need for dialogue and collaboration among network members became acutely apparent,” said Christopher Weis, PhD, senior advisor and toxicology liaison for the NIEHS Office of the Director.
Established in 2013, the WHO Chemical Risk Assessment Network is a voluntary initiative intended to improve chemical risk assessment by facilitating interaction between institutions on chemical risk assessment issues and enhancing global efforts to assess risks to human health from exposure to chemicals. Its objectives include identifying research needs and promoting the application of science in risk assessment. More information about the WHO Risk Assessment Network is available from the WHO website.