Workshop Report: Evaluation of Epidemiological Data Consistency for Application in Regulatory Risk Assessment
Ronald H. White*, 1, Mary A. Fox2, Glinda S. Cooper3, Thomas F. Bateson3, Thomas A. Burke2, Jonathan M. Samet4
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2013
First Page: 1
Last Page: 8
Publisher Id: TOEPIJ-6-1
Article History:Received Date: 29/08/2012
Revision Received Date: 10/11/2012
Acceptance Date: 10/11/2012
Electronic publication date: 24/1/2013
Collection year: 2013
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Epidemiological study results have a key role in the assessment of health risks associated with exposures to chemicals and pollutants, and often serve as the basis for the development of regulatory limits for environmental and occupational health. A key uncertainty in the application of epidemiological study results in risk assessments stems from variability in defining and operationalizing the concept of consistency of findings across studies, with assessments of consistency often a controversial component of risk assessments. Although assessment of consistency of findings across a diverse collection of epidemiological studies is central to evaluating that body of evidence for supporting causal inferences, the variability in definition and formal evaluation methods strongly suggest the need for constructive approaches to consistently and transparently evaluate data consistency.
In response to the need to improve approaches to assessing consistency in epidemiological study results, the Johns Hopkins Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute organized a workshop held in Baltimore, Maryland in September 2010 to identify and discuss key methodological issues, and to develop recommendations for qualitative and quantitative approaches to addressing those issues. A multi-disciplinary approach was utilized for the workshop, involving invited experts from a variety of fields, and the invited participants were drawn from academia, industry, government, and the public interest sectors. This report provides a summary of selected epidemiology methodological issues discussed by the workshop participants and provides the workshop’s key findings and recommendations for future approaches to addressing this issue.