Health Risk Analysis

Technical Adequacy in Three Selected Cases Gao ID: PEMD-87-14 September 30, 1987

GAO evaluated the risk analysis processes used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify possible weaknesses and strengths in the processes.

GAO found that: (1) risk assessment work generally met acceptable technical and scientific criteria; (2) FDA and OSHA did a credible job of reviewing and evaluating available evidence on a hazard; and (3) problems in risk assessment were primarily related to data availability. GAO also found that: (1) there were significant problems in risk management work; (2) FDA and EPA poorly documented the development and evaluation of risk management options and decisionmaking processes; (3) the extent and quality of risk management guidelines varied greatly between and within the agencies; and (4) none of the agencies conducted follow-up evaluations of the regulations to determine if they were achieving the intended risk reduction effects.

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