World-renowned staff at the Institute research issues related to improving the practice of risk assessment and management, particularly as it applies to environmental health issues. The result is a better understanding of the complex effects of pollutant emissions on human health.
Key research areas include uncovering molecular-level mechanisms of action associated with contaminant exposure, designing methods to collect and analyze contaminant samples, and using epidemiological and biostatistical techniques to document population levels of health symptoms.
The Institute's research program encompasses:
- improving the application of epidemiology in evaluating environmental health risks
- developing approaches for joint consideration and synthesis of the diverse types of information available from different disciplines that may contribute to improved risk assessments
- developing methods for conducting multimedia, multichemical risk analysis
- formulating approaches to characterizing multiple risk from a single hazard
- determining ways to communicate risk assessment results that address population variability and scientific uncertainty in ways that decision makers can easily understand
- examining issues surrounding cumulative risks in environmental policies and thresholds in current methods of risk assessment
- evaluating methods available for determining the cost-effectiveness of regulatory approaches and the prioritization of alternative risks
- developing ways to effectively engage the public and determine their valuation and tolerance of risk and risk prevention
- developing population-based evaluation tools to determine the effectiveness of risk management efforts in preventing adverse human health effects
- guidance for implementing the Environmental Protection Agencys new Cumulative Risk Approach
- means to broaden the scope of risk assessment by revisiting the potential contribution of epidemiological data to hazard identification
- methods for joint consideration of epidemiological and toxicological data when conducting risk assessments
- an approach to implement the Presidential/Congressional Commissions risk management model